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Trump administration seeks endangered species rule changes

Author: Associated Press - July 19, 2018 - Updated: July 19, 2018

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As snow storms roll over the Rocky Mountain Continental Divide of the Mount Zirkel Wilderness, displaying male greater sage grouse strut and inflate their air sacs on their chest around nearby females or hens during the annual mating ritual on a sagebrush covered lek on the plains of Colorado’s Arapahoe National Wildlife Refuge. (Photo by milehightraveler, istockphoto)

DENVER — The Trump administration wants to change how endangered species are protected by the U.S. government.

Administration officials on Thursday proposed new rules they said would advance conservation by simplifying and improving how the landmark Endangered Species Act is used.

The changes include potential limits on habitat protections, an end to automatic protections for threatened plants and animals, and streamlining inter-agency consultations when federal government actions could jeopardize a species.

Wildlife advocates say the changes will speed extinctions in the name of furthering the administration’s anti-environment agenda.

The proposals come amid longstanding criticism of the Endangered Species Act by business groups and Republicans in Congress.

Republicans lawmakers are pushing legislation to enact broad changes to the Endangered Species Act, saying it hinders economic activities while doing little to restore species.

Associated Press

Associated Press