The news Monday that the Trump administration is changing the way the Endangered Species Act is applied is alarming conservationists.

According to The New York Times, Trump’s actions are “significantly weakening the nation’s bedrock conservation law credited with rescuing the bald eagle, the grizzly bear and the American alligator from extinction.”

U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono, a Democrat of Hawaii, is among those denouncing the move of the Republican White House.

A leatherback turtle hatchling on a beach.

Courtesy: NOAA

She tweeted Monday, “72 hours after scientists warn we’re at risk of losing two more endangered Hawaiian forest birds, the administration weakens the Endangered Species Act. Protecting our more than 400 endangered species in Hawaii demands attention, not the padding around industry’s pockets.”

In Hawaii, those species include the opeapea (Hawaiian hoary bat), the Oahu elepaio, the leatherback sea turtle and the Erinna newcombi, a freshwater aquatic snail.

The Times says that the new rules “would very likely clear the way for new mining, oil and gas drilling, and development in areas where protected species live.”

A critical time for local journalism . . .

Over 1,800 daily and weekly newspapers in the U.S. have ceased operations since 2004 — among them the Honolulu Star-Bulletin and the Honolulu Weekly. Studies have shown that when local journalism disappears, government financing costs go up, fewer people run for public office, elected officials become less responsive to their constituents, and voter turnout decreases.

 

Our small nonprofit newsroom works hard every day to present local news in a deep and transparent way, without fear or favor.

 

We also rely on donations from readers like you to keep us afloat. The more support we receive; the stronger, more sustainable our journalism becomes; the more accountable we are to you. Please consider supporting our small newsroom with a tax-deductible gift.

About the Author