• Business Business

Biden administration makes sweeping changes to 50-year-old Endangered Species Act: 'More important than ever'

It is expected that there will be countersuits and other legal action.

It is expected that there will be countersuits and other legal action.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

After three years of legal battles, the Biden administration is set to restore and strengthen a series of regulations in the Endangered Species Act to protect animals and plants threatened by extinction.

The administration fought to reestablish rules in the act that had become lax in previous years because of the definition of "habitat." Redefining the word to avoid confusion and gray areas, the amended act hopes to protect these animals vigorously, keeping a changing climate in mind and giving less consideration to economic factors.

The Endangered Species Act, which is over 50 years old, has been criticized and praised over the years. 

The New York Times reported that environmentalists and naturists applaud the protection of these animals while opposing groups, such as foresters and the oil and gas industry, argue it inhibits their rights to make a living by limiting their abilities to manage wildlife.

It is expected that there will be countersuits and other legal action. There is hope, however, that an agreement can be made to appease all sides and allow for the continued protection of at-risk species.

Earth.org stated that hundreds of thousands of animals are threatened by human activity and rising global temperatures. Without change, they won't survive.

While acts such as these seem to be in the hands of the government, you can make a difference by voting for candidates who share your priorities and are proactive about making changes.

You can also do your part to cool the planet by inspiring changes at work, taking action in your own community, and talking to your friends and family. It all seems small and trivial but can make a huge difference in saving wildlife.

The Times article was filled with commentary on the proposed amendments to the act from representatives, groups, advocates, states, and tribes.

"Undoing crucial reforms and issuing new regulations … will not benefit listed species," Rep. Bruce Westerman, an Arkansas Republican at the head of the Natural Resources committee, said.

The Nevada Farm Bureau stated, "The imposed Endangered Species Act restrictions are especially harmful to those, such as our farmer/rancher members, who depend on being able to produce their livelihoods through access to and use of natural resources."

Others, however, feel the animals in danger should be prioritized. 

"As species face new and daunting challenges, including climate change, degraded and fragmented habitat, invasive species, and wildlife disease, the Endangered Species Act is more important than ever to conserve and recover imperiled species now and for generations to come," Martha Williams, director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said.

Join our free newsletter for cool news and actionable info that makes it easy to help yourself while helping the planet.

Cool Divider