- No longer treating threatened species as if they were endangered.
- Promoting much-needed transparency.
- Stopping critical habitat designations that don’t help to conserve species.
The new rules would make it easier to remove a species from the endangered list and weaken protections for threatened species, the classification one step below endangered. And, for the first time, regulators would be allowed to conduct economic assessments — for instance, estimating lost revenue from a prohibition on logging in a critical habitat — when deciding whether a species warrants protection.
This rule-change does not allow economic impacts to affect whether a species is listed as endangered or threatened. Indeed, the rule explicitly “acknowledge[s] that the statute and its legislative history are clear that listing determinations must be made solely on the basis of the best scientific and commercial data available” according to five statutory factors. Thus, the rule gives the agency no authority to decline to list a species based on the economic impacts of such decision. If the agency attempted to do so, it would violate the statute and the rule.
The Democrats recently announced a major climate change plan to be adopted if they win Congress in the fall. They want “net-zero” carbon emissions by 2050, which would require heavy investment in renewable energy. But their plan would kill endangered species and waste millions of acres of land, says Michael Shellenberger, writing in Forbes. “There…
Environmentalists’ knee-jerk reactions to the Trump administration’s regulatory changes under the 1973 Endangered Species Act (ESA) were as predictable as they were misguided. Environmentalists claimed the changes violate the law and gut protections—leaving vulnerable species otherwise on the road to recovery at risk of annihilation.
Sadly, the mainstream media, which seems to treat as revealed truth every study, press release, pronouncement, and tweet from environmentalists, especially if it’s critical of the Trump administration, parroted these claims.
Based on environmentalists’ and the press’s reactions, you would think the ESA had a glowing track record of success in bringing species back from the brink of extinction, but nothing could be further from the truth. Actually, the ESA has been a costly fiasco.
In 1973, John Baden and Richard Stroup proposed selling off the U. S. Forest Service to private owners. In an article in the Journal of Law and Economics, they argued that commercial timber would be better managed by private companies, and non-profit organizations like the Sierra Club could protect the important environmental areas. That essay…
By Greg Rehmke. This is a guest post by Greg Rehmke, program director of Economic Thinking, an organization that fosters better understanding of economic principles. Natural coral and oyster reefs around the world are considered “rainforests of the oceans,” home to rich and diverse ecosystems. Shipwrecks, offshore oil platforms, and artificial reefs teem with species…