It’s difficult to understand how anyone could oppose the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Created to protect vulnerable plant and animal species, it’s a small price to pay to save lives and preserve the delicate balance of our ecosystem.
Yet the U.S. government has made numerous attempts to dismantle the Endangered Species Act or prevent animals from reaching the “endangered” status when they rightfully deserve to be protected. Last month, multiple bills were proposed that seriously threatened the Endangered Species Act. You can read more about that in our CE article here.
Now, another 25 animals were declined the “endangered species” status, despite the fact that numerous scientists and environmental groups believe that they need to be classified as endangered. From walruses and woodpeckers to turtles and toads, the Trump administration has stated that extra protection for these animals “is not warranted at this time.”
One of the more concerning animals proposed as being endangered is the Pacific walrus, as this species is experiencing a greater threat of extinction thanks to their increasing loss of Arctic sea ice habitat.
Despite the overwhelming evidence demonstrating this threat to the Pacific walrus, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which distinguishes which species are classified as endangered or not, maintains that the Pacific walrus may not become endangered. Other organizations have spoken about their concerns over this, such as the Center for Biological Diversity, which expressed that the Pacific walrus has just been given a “death sentence.”
“This is a truly dark day for America’s imperilled wildlife,” explained Noah Greenwald, Endangered Species Director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “You couldn’t ask for a clearer sign that the Trump administration puts corporate profits ahead of protecting endangered species.”
These species “are now one step closer to extinction,” Greenwald said. “We’re going to challenge as many of these bogus findings as we can.”
Other species that didn’t make the cut include: the Barbour’s map turtle, Bicknell’s thrush, the Big Blue Springs cave crayfish, the Oregon Cascades-California and the Black Hills populations of the black-backed woodpecker, the Great Sand Dunes tiger beetle, Kirtland’s snake, the San Felipe gambusia, and 14 species of Nevada springsnails.
Again, this isn’t necessarily a surprise given the U.S. government’s track record. Since taking control of the House of Representatives in 2011, the Republicans have made an alarming 233 legislative attempts to either threaten endangered species or essentially take apart the Endangered Species Act in general.
In addition, the Republicans have designed 135 other legislative amendments in an attempt to either weaken the protection for endangered species protected by the Act or dismantle the Act itself. And it’s not just Republicans who support some of these bills, as some Democrats have sided with them as well.
Regardless of what “side” you’re on within the charade that is the U.S. political system, it’s safe to say that we need to put our differences aside in order to save the animals at risk here. The sole motive behind hindering these efforts is profit.
When a species protected under the Environmental Species Act is present in an area that a big oil company hopes to mine, restrictions in the act prohibit them from doing so. This means that the government would face a lot of backlash if they didn’t side with big business, but let’s be honest — large corporations successfully strong arm the government in many situations anyways.
Though I understand the need to profit in order to thrive under our current economic system, since when does money take priority over life? How can we value profit more than the environment?
I’d like to end this article with the following quote, and I encourage you to reflect on what exactly it means to you.
“Only when the last tree has died, the last river has been poisoned, and the last fish has been caught, will we realize we cannot eat money.”
– Cree Proverb
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