A California federal judge threw out Trump-era changes that weakened the Endangered Species Act and made it harder to protect wildlife from human development and climate change.

Changes under the Trump administration made it easier to remove protections for threatened animals and plants. This allowed federal agencies to perform economic assessments to decide whether a species should be protected from construction projects in critical habitats. The changes also removed tools that scientists used to predict future damage to species from climate change.

Source: 23 ABC News | KERO/Youtube

“The court spoke for species desperately in need of comprehensive federal protections without compromise,” Kristen Boyles, an attorney at Earthjustice, said in a statement. “Threatened and endangered species do not have the luxury of waiting under rules that do not protect them.”

Thankfully, the ruling by U.S. District Judge Jon S. Tigar in California restores the protection for hundreds of species. The decision comes in response to a lawsuit that environmental groups like EarthJustice, the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and others filed in 2019 against the Trump administration.

The Trump administration argued that the changes would simply make the law more efficient and would take pressure off of landowners and corporations. However, the courts now have voided the Trump-era changes altogether.

“Trump’s gutting of endangered species protections should have been rescinded on day one of the Biden presidency,” Noah Greenwald, endangered species director at the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement. “With this court ruling, the Services can finally get on with the business of protecting and recovering imperiled species.”

We are so happy to see these changes thrown out and are hopeful that the Endangered Species Act will come back even stronger!

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