Environmental Groups, State AGs Challenge Endangered Species Act Revisions

November 14, 2019
Rodd W. Bender and Megan A. Elliott
The Legal Intelligencer

On Aug. 27, final revisions to the federal Endangered Species Act’s implementing regulations were published by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and National Marine Fisheries Service (MMFS) (collectively, the Services). The Endangered Species Act (ESA) and its accompanying regulations and guidance have not undergone many changes since the law’s 1973 enactment. The Trump administration promulgated these changes to align the ESA program more closely to the administration’s goals of reducing regulatory constraints and increasing transparency. According
to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, the changes “fit squarely within the president’s mandate of  easing the regulatory burden on the American public, without sacrificing our species’ protection and recovery goals.” As with many environmental policy developments in this current political atmosphere, however, public reaction has been split—many members of the regulated community have welcomed the changes, while environmental groups and several state attorneys general have sued the administration to overturn the rulemaking.

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