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Environmental groups file lawsuit to force Trump to add eight species to endangered list
Two environmental groups have sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to demand that the federal government recognize several species native to the U.S. as endangered.
The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and San Francisco Baykeeper sued the Trump administration to force the addition of the longfin smelt, the Sierra Nevada red fox and six other species to the Endangered Species List, the groups said in a CBD press release.
According to the lawsuit, the agency had previously found the species worthy of endangered species protections under the Obama administration but under the Trump administration had slow-walked the process of actually implementing the protections.
"The number of longfin smelt in the San Francisco Bay Delta has plummeted while the government has failed to protect them for decades," Jon Rosenfield, senior scientist with San Francisco Baykeeper, said in the CBD's press release. "Their population decline reflects the downfall of the entire San Francisco Bay ecosystem, which hosts five other endangered fish species, struggling fisheries and deteriorating water quality. We can't fix these big problems by burying our heads in the sand, as the Trump administration seems intent to do."
A spokesperson for Fish and Wildlife Service declined to comment, citing the ongoing lawsuit, when contacted by The Hill.
The group highlighted the few number of species - just 17 - added to the Endangered Species List under the Trump administration, compared to several times that amount added under previous administrations.
"The longfin smelt needs protection now if it's going to have any chance at survival," Jeff Miller, a senior conservation advocate at CBD, said in the press release. "Trump officials' delay in protecting these fish and other species is cataclysmic. They're stalling safeguards for imperiled wildlife for no other reason than to please campaign contributors in Big Ag and other industries."