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 ZinkeSenate panel approves Interior nominee over objections from Democrats Interior's border surge puts more officers in unfamiliar role Not 'if' but 'when' is the next Deepwater Horizon spill? MORE and Commerce Secretary Wilbur RossWilbur Louis RossTech gets brief reprieve from Trump's Huawei ban Hillicon Valley: Trump takes flak for not joining anti-extremism pact | Phone carriers largely end sharing of location data | Huawei pushes back on ban | Florida lawmakers demand to learn counties hacked by Russians | Feds bust 0M cybercrime group Huawei says inclusion on US trade blacklist is in 'no one's interest' 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.”