The Endangered species Act, is a program, which provides conservation to the endangered and threatened animals and plants in the habitats they are found. The United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Services, as well as the United States Fish and Wildlife Services, are the lead national agencies, which pioneer for the implementation of the legislation found under the Endangered Species Act. The Fish and Wildlife Services usually has a list that contains the names of all the endangered species across the world. Some of the species listed include grasses, insects, reptiles, birds, trees, flowers, crustaceans, and mammals. The federal agencies are required by the law to ensure that all the actions funded, organized, or even authorized by these organizations do not result to the adverse modification or destruction of the designated habitats of the named species. Additionally, their actions are not expected to jeopardize the existence of these listed animals and plants. Several agencies have made proposals on how the act can be changed to address particular issues facing these species, and this essay will outline some of the proposed changes.
On 19th July 2018, the United States Department of the Interior proposed a new law, which would make it even more difficult to recover the endangered and threatened birds. The rules submitted by the organization threatened the lives of the endangered species, considering that it suggested the scrapping off of the 4d rule, which is the blanket protection. Under the new proposal, any bird that was labeled as threatened could be harmed or killed. The plan also aimed at weakening section 7 consultation for the federal land management, which now makes it difficult to list the species regarded as endangered by science, as well as the process of restoring and conserving their habitats.
In the same month, Department of Commerce National Marine Fisheries Service, as well as the Fish and Wildlife Service, issued three proposals on 25th July 2018, which were aimed at modifying some of the critical regulations found in the Endangered Species Act (Warren). The proposed rules by these agencies were aimed at responding to some stakeholder comments, which were presented to the Fish and Wildlife Service in 2017, following the Executive Order 13777. The revised and proposed regulations would help harmonize and streamline the process of listing animals and plants as either endangered or threatened, as well as designating the essential habitats. The three proposed changes would, therefore, help address the increasing litigation and uncertainty, which results from the implementation of the given provisions by the Services.
Under section 4, which pertains the listing and critical habitat designation of these species, the Services proposed four fundamental changes relating to the responsibilities of organizations under this section. One change concerned removing the prohibition on the services on outlining the economic factors when delisting, listing or even classifying the species as either endangered or threatened (Auslander) . Secondly, the services were given the obligation to describe when a species was likely to become threatened or endangered in the future, and this would help warrant the threatened listing. The services would be required to identify all areas a species occupies before designating a region as critical habitat. The services also proposed some changes in section 4(d), which provides for the protective regulations of the threatened species. Contrary to the previous proposal by the United States Department of the Interior, the proposal by the services would not have any implications on the blanket 4d rule on the species that are identified as threatened or endangered.
The NMFS and FWS also proposed the revision of laws found under section 7 of the Endangered Species Act that requires national organizations to consider the opinion of the services before implementing any action that would contradict the existing regulations, or even jeopardize the existence of the endangered animals and plants. Under this proposal, the consultation process would be made more efficient by doing away with the discretionary consultation action that would not impact the listed endangered species. In instances where the services consider evaluating the adverse and modification of critical habitat, the new proposal would require them to make decisions as long the alterations were impacting the land’s value as a whole.
It is evident that the three proposed changes provided for by the Services would positively impact the regulated community. However, the law submitted by the United States Department of the Interior would threaten the endangered species even more. In American society, the Endangered Species Act acts as an administrative roadblock when addressing critical activities and projects. The implementation of the Endangered species has however been faced inconsistencies and inefficiencies, thus draining budgets and increasing costs. By implementing the three laws that were proposed by the services, some of the problems would be addressed, while still helping improve the ESA in maintaining an protecting the lives of the endangered and threatened species.
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