On Wednesday, environmental groups filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service to block the implementation of changes to the Endangered Species Act (ESA) proposed by the Trump Administration. State attorneys general from liberal-leaning states are expected to file a separate suit in the coming weeks.
The plaintiffs argue the ESA changes proposed in the recent regulation are in violation of ESA statute, do not comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and are in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). Nick Goodwin, a spokesperson for the Interior Department, said the agency would “see them in court” and remain “steadfast in our implementation of this important act with the unchanging goal of conserving and recovering species."
Critics of the regulation argue it would weaken the 1973 environmental law and eliminate protections for vulnerable species. Industry groups praised the rule changes for easing the regulatory burden for businesses across the U.S.