Profit Over Grizzlies: Trump Admin Tries to Gut Endangered Species Act for Oil & Mining Interests

Profit Over Grizzlies: Trump Admin Tries to Gut Endangered Species Act for Oil & Mining Interests

The Trump administration has announced plans
to gut the Endangered Species Act, ordering federal agencies to consider economic impacts
before listing animals to be protected under the law. The newly proposed guidelines by the Interior
Department would allow corporations involved in mining, drilling or other forms of extraction
to proceed with projects that would otherwise be prohibited. Republican President Richard Nixon signed
the Endangered Species Act in 1973 to provide a framework to conserve and protect endangered
and threatened species and their habitats. The Trump administration’s proposed rules
are among several recent efforts to weaken the Endangered Species Act. Earlier this month, the Congressional Western
Caucus introduced a package of nine bills to, quote, “modernize” the ESA. In introducing the legislation, Republican
Congressman Don Young of Alaska said, quote, “The Endangered Species Act has been weaponized
and misused by environmental groups for too long.” Meanwhile, in the Senate, Wyoming Republican
John Barrasso, chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, also introduced
a draft bill to amend the act. This is Barrasso speaking at a hearing last
week. Congress last reauthorized the Endangered
Species Act with amendments of substance in 1988, 30 years ago. Even the U.S. Constitution has been amended
more recently than the Endangered Species Act. Stakeholders are making it clear that the
Endangered Species Act can be improved. A major goal of the Endangered Species Act
is the recovery of species to the point that protection under the statute is no longer
necessary. Since the ESA was signed into law, only 54
out of 2,393 species listed in the U.S. and foreign countries have been delisted because
they have recovered. That’s less than 3 percent. Now, as a doctor, if I admit a hundred patients
to the hospital and only three recover enough under my treatment to be discharged, Governor,
I would deserve to lose my medical license with numbers like that. House Democrats, along with conservationists,
managed to get excluded from Congress’s annual defense spending bill policies that
would restrict Endangered Species Act protections for certain animals. For more, we’re joined by Kierán Suckling. He is executive director, a founder of the
Center for Biological Diversity, the group that has sued the Trump administration 81
times over the past year and a half. Kierán, welcome to Democracy Now! Talk about what is happening to the Endangered
Species Act, 45 years after it was passed and President Nixon signed off on it. Yeah, the Trump administration’s proposal
to gut the Endangered Species Act is the most comprehensive, devastating attempt to destroy
this law we’ve seen in this entire time. And this is after Reagan and after the Bushes. It’s even worse than that. It’s quite extraordinary. Well, and specifically, how would the weakening
or gutting of the act work, if it went through? Well, it will strip protection entirely for
about 60 percent of all species on the list. And these are the species that are listed
as threatened rather than endangered. Currently, they get essentially the same protection
as endangered species. Under the Trump proposal, they would get no
protection at all. You could continue to kill them, you could
continue to destroy their habitat, as if they were simply not protected. And how would this issue of taking into account
economic impacts work? Yeah, this is really disastrous. The Endangered Species Act is incredibly successful
because it requires that all decisions be made solely on the best available science—no
politics, no economic concerns. The Trump administration now wants to say,
when deciding whether a species is endangered—a scientific question—you’re going to have
to take into account economic impacts. Well, economic activity—mining, logging,
grazing—is the cause of endangerment. And this is the Endangered Species Act, not
the Endangered Mining Industry Act. So it really turns the priority of this very
successful law entirely upside down. I want to turn to Richard Nixon, speaking
in 1970, when he outlined a sweeping plan to protect the environment. Three years later, he signed the Endangered
Species Act. The great question of the ’70s is: Shall
we surrender to our surroundings, or shall we make our peace with nature and begin to
make reparations for the damage we have done to our air, to our land and to our water? So that’s Richard Nixon speaking back in
the 1970s. I want to go back to Republican Senator John
Barrasso of Wyoming, speaking at a hearing for a draft bill to amend the Endangered Species
Act. The discussion draft elevates the role of
states in partnering with the federal government to implement the Endangered Species Act. It affords states the opportunity to lead
wildlife conservation efforts, including to the establishment of recovery teams for listed
species and developing and implementing recovery plans. It provides for increased regulatory certainty,
so stakeholders are incentivized to enter into voluntary conservation and recovery activities. It increases transparency. It codifies a system for prioritizing species
listing petitions so limited resources flow to the species most in need. Kierán Suckling, if you can respond to what
Republican Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming was saying? Yeah, this is really extraordinary, because
to get onto the endangered species list, there first has to be a finding that state plans
have not worked, that state plans have caused the species to be imperiled. And so, now Barrasso he wants to have the
law say, “Oh, well, let’s put the states, whose plans failed, in charge of conserving
the species.” How can that make any sense at all? He wants to do that because he knows the states
don’t have the money, the infrastructure, and in places like Idaho, Utah, Alaska, they
don’t have the desire to protect these species. It’s the reason they’re endangered in
the first place, right? We don’t turn over implementation of our
laws to criminals who have just been found guilty of breaking the law. The state can be a partner of the federal
government. The federal government needs to set the standards,
provide the funds to get the job done that the states fail to do. And, Kierán Suckling, why do you—what’s
your sense of why the Trump administration is making this such a priority? I mean, President Trump is not exactly known
as a guy who has a lot of concern about what’s going on with nature or with the open spaces
of America. He’s a real estate developer. So, why do you think he has moved so aggressively
on this front? Well, he’s being strongly influenced by
right-wing Republican congressmen, but especially those from the Western states, where so much
logging, mining, grazing, oil drilling, coal mining is taking place on public lands. And there’s this right-wing agenda to allow
our public lands to be turned over to industry groups. And these folks, particularly out of Utah,
have Trump’s ear, and he’s doing essentially whatever they want to happen. Can you talk about, Kierán, what animals
have been saved by the Endangered Species Act? Oh, you know, there just are hundreds. Of the 1,600 species on the domestic list,
about 85 percent of them have improved in their population size since going on the list. So, for example, the bald eagle, when it was
first put on the endangered species list, there were just a couple hundred of them. And by the time they were recovered, there
were over 8,000. Other species that have been helped are the
wolverine up in the northern states; the grizzly bear has recovered tremendously, from on the
verge of extinction to many hundreds of them; on the East Coast, we’ve got the Atlantic
sturgeon off the coast of New York; or down in Florida, we’ve got the manatee, another
incredible success story; green sea turtles on the Texas coast. Really, in every single state in the country,
endangered species are thriving because of the work of the federal government, because
of the very protections the Trump administration and Barrasso want to kill. And we talked about what President Trump is
directly trying to do. What is Barrasso—in Congress, what are these
efforts to amend or modernize the act about? Yeah, so, congressional Republicans have introduced
over 60 bills in the last two years to gut the Endangered Species Act. And they know what they’re doing. So these bills go right at the key decision
junctures in the act that protect species and, in doing so, slow down some industries. And so, they want to make it harder to put
a species onto the endangered species list at all, because if you stop that key moment,
none of the other things flow from it. They want to allow protected habitat areas
to be destroyed, even though they were set up simply to save the species. They want to change the people who create
recovery plans for the species, the blueprint of what actions are needed, so that the states
and industry groups dominate those plans. They want to make it so that greenhouse gas
emissions and global warming cannot be addressed at all, even though they’re driving almost
all the species on the list extinct. They want to create loopholes so that oil
companies, mining companies, logging companies can continue to implement destructive plans,
even though those plans have been specifically found to be driving species extinct.


  1. The ESA, Endangered Species Act, needs to be left alone. Trump doesn't need anymore money from his big Oil and Gas Corporations. Leave the Environment alone. After Trump took the "Bees" off of the Endangered Species List, over 5 Billion died. Climate Change is the greatest threat to mankind and the World. Trump is the second greatest threat. Somebody needs to stop this Mad Man, before he kills us all!

  2. WTF now the endangered species act….this monster trumpzilla is utterly destroying our country. PROFIT OVER LIFE SHOULD BE HIS SLOGAN.

  3. Open season on black snakes sound's good to!I've already signed the petition to stop this have you? ?

  4. Someone kill trump and hang his head on your mantle.

    Orange moron is an endangered species! Better keep those protections Trump lol

  5. Conservatives are never “pro-life,” but at least Sen Barasso offers a fine example of the failure of metaphor to suture the incommensurable.

  6. Will Pruit's successor Andrew Wheeler hate the environment just as much or more

    What have you Scott Pruitt done so far to protect the environment?
    Seriously? I was not put in charge of the EPA to protect the environment. I was put in charge of the EPA to deregulate and unleash the constraints on resource companies and immoral industries so they can make more money. Trump told reporters to leave me alone I'm doing a great job .. helping him and others destroy the planet
    I mean who in the hell wants to breath clean air and have safe drinking water anyway?
    This is at a time when environmental protections are being rolled back by Republican leadership and the Trump Administration.
    Jeff Sessions, a Methodist who has long enjoyed the political support of white Evangelicals, Scott Pruitt, and VP Mike Pence are Evangelicals

    Trump has declared war on the EPA:

    New EPA Chief Andrew Wheeler, Former Coal Lobbyist, Aims to Continue to Dismantle EPA from Inside 16 minutes

  7. Wow what a great man and president hopefully there's still more wildlife and Earth left when he leaves office

  8. A wonderful reason to re-instate the games whereby instead of playing softball like sissies, which they're afraid to do for good reason, we simply throw Republicans and corrupt politicians in general into a ring with bears, lions, elephants, eagles and wolves…a long list…and pay off the national debt with broadcast rights and ads; just like the NFL.

  9. Don't shoot grizzly bears unless you are starving!
    Jul. 25th, 2018 11:16 am
    kay_mulan: (Default)

    In fact, just don't.

    There are other animals to eat.

    earth health work, earth stewardship

    To Mr. John Barrasso
    Jul. 25th, 2018 11:13 am
    kay_mulan: (Default)
    Sir, the 3% success rate you mentioned for removing species off the Endangered Species Act is because U.S. wildlife and fisheries departments of the federal government with the help of local NGO's know it is an uphill battle to save ecosystems in a micro as well as macro sense. Every success is one species saved! By God's good grace, protection of the environment means protecting life itself. Please don't be discouraged that these supposedly low numbers mean ineptness, because they don't. Saving the biosphere is a delicate act of God, that us as God's stewards helps us in that we are the hands and feet of Jesus, that can protect water/rivers/oceans and soil/land/forests, not just in our own back yard, but planetwide. Please don't gut but bolster the Endangered Species Act! Protect it! Cherish our creatures, our wildlife, our America the Beautiful! Please consider talking to state and federal employees who are Californian to learn about major successes, because they are out there! Please consider talking to Natural Resources Defense Council closely about saving and protecting the Endangered Species Act.

  10. "Only when the last fish is caught, the last river poisoned, and the last tree felled, will white man realize that one cannot eat, drink, nor breathe money." – Native American Saying

  11. I guess that means the Trump children can kill anything they want now. The decor of the White House will now be decapitated heads of endangered species. Ivanka will design it .apparently it was Eric's idea in the first place.

  12. As Dubya invaded Iraq "Operation Iraqi Liberation" (OIL), Trump and others, I believe, have been putting together a plan to sack Iran in the name of war profits. The axis of evil will be England (by US proxy), Zionist US, Zionist Israel as they empire build in the Middle East, Arabia (munitions factories), and Russia as land grab opportunist. It seems possible that in the recent secret meeting, Trump was sounding Putin out for his interest in participating. (They certainly weren't meeting in secret to swap favorite cookie recipes.) Trump seems to not be able to wait to start WWIII, and possibly take the whole planet down. We won't have to worry about our Sun going extinct, Earth being knocked out of orbit by an asteroid, or the approach of a new Ice Age; nothing will be around for any of these events with all of the certifiably nutz "leaders" we have running things.

  13. Senator Barrasso is a doctor?  Yes, Dr. Death. How many species are going extinct every minute because of these insane, sociopathic, mentally ill, morons and their myopic, one channel (money) thinking??? They DO NOT SPEAK FOR WE, THE PEOPLE. They speak for Special Interests ONLY. Get rid of them!

  14. Blah blah blah…..

    If environmentalists had there dam way everything would be locked off cause they would find a impact study claiming that the common housefly cant land in cowshit and lay eggs safely.

    What the hell is for us to use and cultivate??

  15. always remember- that duplicitous, scumbag is a doctor…( and every time Mitch McConnell commits a new atrocity, he's standing next to him ….)

  16. So the "argument" of Sen. Barrasso was that since during the time that the Act was in place, only 3% of species recovered – and because a doctor would lose his license for this low a percentage of success – we thus should get rid of the Act. This is BS because:

    1.) WRONG ASSUMPTION: Doctors whose patients have low survival rates do not lose their license (nor should they). This is because low survival rates do not necessarily indicate the quality of the doctor. I get it, Barrasso used to be an orthopedic surgeon. But other doctors, say those specialized treating lung cancer, probably have very few patients surviving over the span of even a couple years. Obviously, the species on the endangered species list are quite a bit more like lung cancer patients than patients with a broken leg.
    So even following this strange (and shall we say limping?) analogy, if anything, it would SUPPORT KEEPING the Act if you thought about it for 3 seconds or so.

    2.) CONCLUSION DOES NOT FOLLOW: If species recover at 3% WITH the Act does not mean they would recover BETTER WITHOUT the Act. Kind of like a terminal cancer patient is typically not better off COMPLETELY WITHOUT treatment, suboptimal as it may be.

    Let me conclude with hinting at an APPROPRIATE ANALOGY in form of a question: If you do something and it has 3% success, does that mean you need to make LESS effort?

    I lied, I conclude with the following prediction: I note the very loud lack of ALTERNATIVES that will help to boost the recovery rate much better than the current Act … instead, the current plan introduces consideration of economic interests into the spiel, i.e. we protect endangered species from factors that promote their decline, prominently featuring economic interests, EXCEPT where economic concerns overrule concern for the endangered species … I predict the recovery rate is EXTREMELY unlikely to up. In fact, I would bet all those grizzly bears' lives on it that it will go down to ZERO.

    #ZEROtoleranceforSTUPIDarguments #humanspychology #intelligentscumbag #CallingBS

  17. very soon man (hopefully the XY chromosome) will become the ENDANGERED or ELIMINATED species .. No Act … Just Nature.

  18. The Outside world is absolutely amazed that this greedy ignorant infantile petulant egocentric megalomaniac was elected as the chief representative of America , the wealthiest most powerful country on the planet.

  19. So Nixon's administration, and those since then, conserved our national symbol, the bald eagle, for America the Beautiful.

    Trump's administration will thoughtlessly destroy it for bigger returns on his and their investments. Hey, how great is that? "Oh yeah! MAGA n shit! Go Trump! U.S.A! U.S.A!"

    That bald eagle that scared some of the chicken shit out of Trump that time, should have done more than that to him while he had the chance.

  20. Only 3% of endangered species have been de-listed. Maybe because in Wyoming and other states the typical attitude of ranchers and hunters is SSS (Shoot, Shovel, and Shut-up). It's been that way for years. When you hear these people complain about the numbers of predators it soon becomes obvious they've never taken a biology class much less an animal ecology class. They're in large part uneducated and like it that way.

    And Wyoming is a prime example of how special interest groups, usually Republicans, buy their way into over-use of our Federal land resources. Wyoming ranchers already graze their cattle for pennies on all of our National Forest and BLM (Bureau of Land Management) lands. For pennies. To the detriment of fish and wildlife populations. The landscape is already dotted with oil and gas wells.

    You can't find anywhere on public land in the western states where you can walk without stepping in cow shit. And that includes Wilderness areas. However, in Wyoming, if an out of state hunter wants to hunt in a designated Wilderness Area he has to hire a local or a guide or he can't legally hunt it. Outfitters influencing public policy and use of federal lands? You bet and proud of it. yet they want to come off as the original self sufficient pioneer type. Parasites upon the taxpayer is more like it. They're way worse than the people who need food stamps that they love to complain about.

    Republicans and especially groups like the fundamentalist Bundies think public lands are their lands and that they do not belong to the general public. And western states want management of the land designated to states so they can sell their natural resources to the highest bidders. Wyoming is one of the worst actors. And it's one of the most beautiful states we have in our country. As Trump would say – "So sad.".

  21. Of course, if you are Republican and a Republican Senator for Wyoming, you would want to destroy the wild lands of Wyoming because you have no respect for the lands in the State.

  22. I hear that oil has been discovered in the Nebraska and Wyoming area so we should start drilling immediately through the Oglala water under the earth in Nebraska. Who gives a shit about water, the Platt river, the wildlife, or the fffffing people in Senator Wyoming's neighbor's areas. Screw the hunters, the farmers, the kids who like to play outside of the cities. Let's ffffffff up the land, the water, and the air for those shitty grandchildren and great grandchildren we would love to kill off. Make America Great Again.


  24. The Constitution is older than the Endangered Species Act, therefore it may be amended more. Amendments are not mandated or competitions. They are due to necessities. Acts can be amendments to the Constitution. It is the Constitution that is usually amended Gives rights and protections. Does not take them away.

    The speaker is very good and brings out logical rather than sound bite propaganda. Doctors are to do no harm to life. That is the goal of the Endangered Species Act.

  25. As Noam has said for years, the Republican Party of the United States, is literally the most dangerous political party on the planet, and this is exactly why. Exxon-Mobile has known for decades that climate change is real, they’ve been on a campaign to muddy the waters on that truth the whole time, and they consider the “externality” of economic disaster to be an opportunity to make even more profits. What I don’t think they have thought out is whether or not the disaster can be controlled to an significant extent, and either way, they have no care whatsoever of the suffering that they’ll cause. These people are the most dangerous people on the planet, and they are evil, make no mistake about it. ✌🏼

  26. We need Trump and his Fascist to become endangered, as said evan Tricky Dicky signed it , The people here in the U,S, have become self imposed IDIOTS!

  27. Horrible. They really only care about their money. They do not deserve prison, that would not bother them. Seize every penny of the Uncaring Rich – that is the only thing that matters to them.

  28. The blow back from this would rock the white mans world. There are already new species of insects and fish never heard of or seen before. This would leave god to create new species specifically developed to fight against white people. Smh. There are also new species of plants. Esau hardheaded as shit. And gonna learn the hard way for destroying all gods creation. No wonder he hates white folks.

  29. Comrade trumpski has sold out his country for money, now this sick bastard is trying to kill endangered species for profit. This is how the re-puck-licans see nature as something for big businesses to earn money from, regardless of the long term effects it can cause, just like their tariffs.

  30. This climate change/global warming is not only killing animals it’s also killing humans as well.
    What this increased heat waves human cases of
    heat stroke and suicide has gone up. Look it up for yourself.

  31. Trump is a disgusting, disgraceful, pathetic excuse for a human. ALL he cares about is making himself and his rich friends even more wealthy. His supporters are brain-dead racists, sexists and bigots. I loved Obama more than anything as president, but if he was saying things like 'Don't believe anything you hear or see about me", I'd think to myself 'hmmmmm now just wtf is this mother effer up to?' My support for him as a president didn't cloud my ability to discern fact from fiction or inhibit my ability to criticize him when deserved. But Trump supporters apparently aren't capable of doing either. What does that say about their level of intelligence? Nothing good, that's for sure.

  32. Two species to go extinct for the sake of the planet should be mosquitoes and republicans. OK, let the mosquitoes be.

  33. Barrasso is so disingenuous. Every setback to protecting a species has been because of 'considering the economic impact'.


  35. This is horrific and something we must not allow to happen. Our natural wildlife habits must be protected at all cost.

  36. It's pretty impressive to try to undo every single good thing that ever happend in the world
    If you want to help save the ESA -> SIGN the petition, it takes less than 2 minutes and is free ->> @t

  37. OMG I fucking HATE this fat ass orange piece of SHIT we have as a president!!! Leave the animals alone!!! They've endured enough death and destruction from humans over the years and now this ASSHOLE of a president wants to make changes and decrease regulations so that MORE animals become extinct???? I'm sure it's because of that BUCKED TOOTH ugly ass son of his who wants to hunt bald eagles…. We seriously need to get this piece of shit out of office NOW!!!!

  38. "Unless ye must, Bruise not the serpent in the dust, How much less wound a man. And if ye can, No ant should ye alarm, Much less a brother harm." ~ ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Baha'i Faith

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