On August 12, 2019, the EPA published revised rules and regulations under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). These finalized changes have serious implications for the Endangered Species Act as we know it. The changes revise the procedures and criteria used for listing or removing species from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants and designating critical habitats. Specifically, the changes remove the Blanket Rule for FWS threatened species. Historically, this rule extended the same protection that the ESA affords endangered species automatically to threatened species as well. This rule revision would make those protections only available on a case by case basis to specific species. Other rule changes could have cascading impacts as well, including new and shorter timelines for reports and the ability of the agencies to consider economic impacts when making listing decisions.
Photo credit: Evan D'Alessandro