Federal Endangered Act in peril


Ever watch a bald eagle soar above the Ohio River, head tilted downward as it spies for finned prey near the water’s surface?

You can thank the Endangered Species Act for affording you the opportunity to watch the majestic bird — a symbol of America — in flight.

The survival of other species — grizzly bears, for example — is a direct result of protections provided by the Endangered Species Act. But recent revisions to the ESA by the Trump Administration could easily land the act on its own “threatened” list.

The changes, which apply only to future endangered listings, include taking into account economic costs when deciding if a species warrants protection. Another rewrite weakens initial protections for species deemed to be threatened, a step below being endangered, NPR reports.

The revisions also limit which habit, and how much of it, is considered when making decisions on endangerment. Habit variation caused by climate change, resulting in forced migration, could limit the chances for some species since land currently occupied is given priority.

Another climate in America — our politically charged one — has people arguing the merits of these changes. Time will tell.

In the meantime, a U.N. report puts the number of species in danger of extinction at 1 million.

One thing’s a given. Threatened species better nestle down near a four-leafed clover or hope they are part of the cottontail clan with built-in rabbits’ feet. Luck may be their only friend.

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