Thousands of scientists send Trump letter defending Endangered Species Act

Thousands of scientists send Trump letter defending Endangered Species Act
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Thousands of scientists have signed a letter to the Trump administration this week urging the federal government's protection of the Endangered Species Act.

Three organizations representing about 9,000 biologists wrote to Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeOvernight Energy: Senate eyes nixing 'forever chemicals' fix from defense bill | Former Obama EPA chief named CEO of green group | Senate reviews Interior, FERC nominees criticized on ethics Senate reviews Interior, FERC nominees criticized on ethics Overnight Energy: Perry to step down as Energy secretary | Future of big-game hunting council up in the air | Dems lose vote against EPA power plant rule MORE and Commerce Secretary Wilbur RossWilbur Louis RossTrump trade adviser pushes back on reports of US-China tariff deal China, US agree to reduce tariffs amid trade talks, Beijing says Income for poorest Americans fell faster than previously thought: study MORE on Monday in an open letter accusing the Trump administration of trying to erode protections for endangered wildlife for commercial profit, according to Reuters.

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Changes being considered by the Trump administration to the Endangered Species Act, first announced in July, would end the practice of treating "endangered" species the same as species labeled as "threatened," and would reduce habitat measurements to include an animal's current range, instead of its expected range upon species recovery.

“This is completely disastrous for efforts to save species from extinction,” Duke University conservation professor Stuart Pimm told Reuters of the administration's planned changes.

About 1,600 plant and animal species are currently protected in the U.S. under the Endangered Species Act, which was first signed into law by Republican President Richard Nixon.

The act is credited with the revival of iconic American animal species including the bald eagle, California condor, and the grizzly bear, while environmental groups argue that the act should be lauded for saving other species from extinction.

A spokesman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service told Reuters that the Trump administration encourages “input on our proposed ESA regulatory changes from all stakeholders as part of a robust and transparent public process.”