What's more important: saving animals or the economy? | The Tylt
What's more important: saving animals or the economy?
According to the New York Times' Lisa Friedman, the Trump administration plans to "change the way the Endangered Species Act is applied," so that economic considerations will play a roll alongside science. Some feel these changes will benefit everyone, plants, animals and economy included:
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement the revisions “fit squarely within the president’s mandate of easing the regulatory burden on the American public, without sacrificing our species’ protection and recovery goals.”
By allowing economic factors to be part of the decision-making process, some feel the approach becomes more holistic in nature. Friedman expands, saying:
One of the most controversial changes removes longstanding language that prohibits the consideration of economic factors when deciding whether a species should be protected.
Under the current law, such determinations must be made solely based on science, “without reference to possible economic or other impacts of determination.”
Gary Frazer, the assistant director for endangered species with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, said that phrase had been removed for reasons of “transparency.” He said the change leaves open the possibility of conducting economic analyses for informational purposes, but that decisions about listing species would still be based exclusively on science.
Environmentalists argue that economic costs come with protecting the Earth. The country should not prioritize economic gain over preserving habitats and species. The New York Times' Friedman continues her reporting:
“There can be economic costs to protecting endangered species,” said Drew Caputo, vice president of litigation for lands, wildlife and oceans at Earthjustice, an environmental law organization. But, he said, “If we make decisions based on short-term economic costs, we’re going to have a whole lot more extinct species.”
According to Friedman:
Overall, the new rules would very likely clear the way for new mining, oil and gas drilling, and development in areas where protected species live.
In an op-ed for the Washington Post, deputy secretary of the interior David Bernhardt argues the ESA's so-called "blanket rule" prevents the government from looking at threatened species on a case-by-case basis, which was the original intent of the law. He explains:
The use of this rule by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service automatically elevates protections for threatened species to the same level as those given to endangered species.
Bernhardt cites the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as an example of a federal agency that does not apply the blanket rule when administering the ESA, suggesting the country follow this lead. He writes:
The Endangered Species Act provides intensive care for the species with the greatest need in order to ensure they survive for future generations. Like with a hospital’s intensive care unit, the goal is not to keep patients there forever. The goal is recovery — to send the healthier patients home where they can continue to receive the lower level of care they still need.