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Dr. Lee Talbot on the Endangered Species Act rollbacks

“The result (of rolling back regulations) is an assault on America’s natural heritage, allowing economic factors to be considered in whether or not a species is saved,” says Dr. Lee Talbot, professor of environmental science and policy at George Mason University. “When a species becomes extinct or a habitat is lost to development, the effects are irreversible; a piece of our natural heritage is lost to both present and all future Americans.”

Dr. Talbot is one of the original authors of the Endangered Species Act (1973) and was also chief scientist and foreign affairs director of the President’s Council on Environmental Quality under presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Jimmy Carter. The Endangered Species Act protects more than 1,600 species in the United States and its territories and has saved 99% of listed species from extinction.

The Trump administration says the changes will ease regulations on businesses and industries like mining and oil drilling, but Dr. Talbot says that the ESA was intended to keep economic factors out of the decision making on species listings. “We recognized that perceived short-term economic factors could overcome the scientific urgency associated with threatened and endangered species,” he said.

Read the full Mason News article that was published on September 20, 2019: https://www2.gmu.edu/news/579696

To read more about the rollbacks on regulations:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/animalia/wp/2018/07/19/endangered-species-act-stripped-of-key-provisions-in-trump-administration-proposal/