BOSTON – In an era and a presidential administration when it often seems like the overt cruelty is hardly of consequence to those who make the decisions, the dismantling of the Endangered Species Act towers above many of the unconscionable actions as one of the worst examples.

The Endangered Species Act is almost 50 years old and it has been a crucial piece of legislation for restoring many threatened species and environmental regions to a better strength. Per the United Nations, currently about one million species are at risk of extinction, and the Endangered Species Act is more important than ever.

Many businesses that want to exploit natural environments and species for financial gain have lobbied for rollbacks of the Act. Clearly their lobbying has been effective, as the Trump administration and Republican lawmakers have now gutted the legislation. Protections for endangered species are already targeted for elimination from the law. Additionally, economic concerns for protecting species have been pushed to the forefront of environmental response to endangered animals.

Of course, this decision has also resulted in a ton of pushback from environmental and animal rights groups, as well as Democratic lawmakers. Among these people include the Attorney General of Massachusetts, Maura Healey, and the attorney general of California, Xavier Becerra. Both have announced plans to sue the Trump administration over these rollbacks.

In a statement, Healey said, “By gutting key components of the Endangered Species Act, one of our country’s most successful environmental laws, the Trump Administration is putting our most imperiled species and our vibrant local tourism and recreation industries at risk. We will be taking the Administration to court to defend federal law and protect our rare animals, plants, and the environment.” She also shared this tweet:

Healey's statement mentioned the 500% increase in Massachusetts piping plover bird populations over the past 30 years due to increased protections. She says the Endangered Species Act ought to be rescued and expanded, not rolled back to pre-environmental regulations.

Industry's not going to police itself over the survival of some birds. If the government won't set limits on industry to protect endangered species, it won't be long before we've seen the last of some of our country's iconic wildlife.

Photo by Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash