Weakening of the Endangered Species Act hurts wildlife recovery

Sea otter wrapped in kelp


In May, the United Nations released a research report forecasting the extinction of nearly 1 million animal and plant species due to climate change and human impacts to the environment.

Things took a turn for the worse today as the Trump Administration released revised regulations for implementing the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Those changes put threatened and endangered species on an accelerated path to extinction. They weaken protections for threatened species, make it harder to consider climate change impacts, further limit the designation of critical habitat and will likely clear the way for new offshore oil and gas development in areas where threatened and endangered species live.

Orca family in Puget Sound


Last year, the Seattle Aquarium collected signatures from hundreds of people who opposed the proposed changes. We also submitted our own comment letter. Given our marine focus and location on the Salish Sea, we are particularly concerned about coho salmon, steelhead, sockeye, Chinook salmon, bocaccio, yelloweye rockfish and sea otters, as well as the southern resident orcas which recently dropped to a population of only 73 individuals. We also care deeply about the health of plants and animals across the country and the planet and a robust, science-based Endangered Species Act is critical to their continued survival. The ESA has brought numerous species back from the brink of extinction. Today’s news is distressing, to say the least.

We stand against these changes to the ESA. Protecting and restoring threatened and endangered species is urgent and essential. We will continue to work with our partners on this issue and to be a voice for positive action by advocating for science-based policies that are not unduly influenced by special or economic interests.

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