A federal judge in California has overturned a 2019 Trump administration move to eviscerate the landmark Endangered Species Act, vacating that administration’s modifications and restoring protections for hundreds of species.
The move is a victory for environmental and conservation groups and climate advocates. The improvement of the protections could also prove to be a boon for climate groups against oil and gas drilling in certain areas that could harm threatened wildlife.
“The Court spoke for species desperately in need of comprehensive federal protections without compromise,” Earthjustice attorney Kristen Boyles announced in a statement. “Threatened and endangered species do not have the luxury of waiting under rules that do not protect them.”
The Trump overhaul altered how the Fish and Wildlife Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration assessed whether species qualify for federal protections. It could have considerably lengthened how long it requires for a species to be protected. It had the impact of taking several species out of consideration for protection.
“Trump’s gutting of endangered species protections should have been rescinded on day one of the Biden presidency,” Noah Greenwald, endangered species director at the Center for Biological Diversity, explained in a statement. “With today’s court ruling, the Services can finally get on with the business of protecting and recovering imperiled species.”