Energy & Environment

Judge rejects Trump administration attempt to toss endangered species lawsuit

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A federal judge has rejected the Trump administration’s attempt to dismiss a challenge to its rollback of endangered species protections, ruling late Monday that the 17-state lawsuit can proceed.

The August rule significantly weakens protections under the landmark Endangered Species Act, allowing economic factors to be weighed before adding an animal to the list and limiting how aspects such as climate change can be considered in listing decisions.

It also weakens protections for threatened species that are at risk of becoming endangered.

“When a species goes extinct, there’s no turning back the clock,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a Tuesday release. 

“In California, we recognize the importance of biodiversity, and we cherish the hundreds of endangered species that make their home in this state. We commend the court for moving this challenge onward and look forward to continuing our strong fight against these unlawful rules.”

Judge Jon Tigar of the U.S. District Court for Northern California said states made a sufficient case that they would be injured by the rule.

The Department of Interior, which finalized the rule, did not respond to request for comment.    

The suit from the states argues the rollback violates a number of laws, including the Endangered Species Act itself, as well as the Administrative Procedures Act, which lays out the rulemaking process, and the National Environmental Policy Act, which requires weighing a wide range of environmental factors before any big projects or rules.

The Trump administration is also facing a suit on its changes from a coalition of major environmental groups.

Tags Endangered species Endangered Species Act Xavier Becerra

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