Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service announced new proposed regulations weakening the Endangered Species Act’s (ESA) ability to protect threatened and endangered species from extinction, including the rescission of the blanket 4(d) rule that immediately provides critical protections to species when they are listed as “threatened.”

WCS Executive Vice President John Calvelli released the following statement:

“The Endangered Species Act is the United States’ most effective tool to save species, having effectively prevented the extinction of 99 percent of listed species to date.

“The species listed as threatened are in trouble, and the ESA contains incentives for federal and state government entities to collaborate with private interests to find solutions that are to the benefit of all parties.

“The regulatory changes proposed today are a transparent effort to weaken ESA by simply putting up roadblocks in front of effective management and creating unnecessary bureaucracy, with the final result putting threatened species in more peril.

“WCS strongly supports existing law that states that decisions on whether to list or delist a species should be based on the best available scientific information. We are concerned that the proposed changes will enable other considerations to influence decisions. We cannot condone the dilution of the role of science.

“Working to conserve threatened species before they become endangered is the most cost effective way to ensure they endure and start the path to recovery. We vigorously oppose these harmful changes to the regulations implementing the ESA, and urge all Americans to do the same.”