With Trump’s Late-Term ‘War on Wildlife,’ 135 NGOs Implore Biden for E.O. to Slow the ‘Extinction Crisis’

(EnviroNews Headline News Desk) — Washington D.C. — On December 21, 2020, 135 organizations called on President-elect Joe Biden to issue an executive order to end the “extinction crisis” when he gets into office, according to a press release. In light of the Trump Administration’s pro-industry agenda, which includes two illegally appointed and serving heads of Interior Department agencies and an end-of-term “war on wildlife,” the NGOs have pulled together to present Biden with a plan that will overturn some of the damage Trump has done.

While Biden doesn’t have any current power to rein in further degradation of the Endangered Species Act (ESA/the Act) and other environmental protections, conservationists feel the President-elect could begin the arduous process of reclaiming the ESA without having to go through Congress, in what they hope will be an effort to return the overwhelmingly popular piece of bedrock legislation to something resembling its original form – this, after several late-term rule changes have all but neutered the Act.

“The time for half measures has passed. President Biden must take bold, immediate action to end extinction because the survival of not just wildlife but humanity is now at stake,” said Tierra Curry, a Senior Scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity.

The sizeable coalition says that an executive order would bypass the need to consult with Congress and show Biden’s ability to take bold and aggressive action in light of what is likely to be an obstructionist Senate, pending the outcome of the Georgia run-offs. The proposed executive order, ready for Biden to issue, would declare the extinction crisis a national emergency and give him the opportunity to act without Congressional approval under the National Emergencies Act. It would create national monuments protecting 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters by 2030 and 50 percent by 2050, and it would call for all agencies to add climate change to their considerations for species protections under the ESA – a stark contrast to the current administration, which removed all mentions of climate change from the White House website shortly after Trump took office.

“The trifecta of the extinction crisis, climate emergency and pandemic illustrate that Biden has no choice but to safeguard the natural world as a matter of highest priority,” Curry continued. “The long-term wellbeing of our country depends on how intrepid Biden is willing to be in the next four years.”

The proposed executive order is just a part of the plan these organizations have outlined for Biden. The groups will present them to the President-elect and his transition team while Democrats prepare to take back the White House.

Even after being rejected by 86 million voters at the polls and in the last days of his presidency, Trump has continued what EnviroNews has deemed an all-out “war on wildlife” that started at the beginning of his term, but which has ramped up significantly in the past few months. Trump’s administration has acknowledged the need for monarch butterflies to be listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) but will not go through the process because there are 161 higher priority species it is looking at. Two rules were finalized on Dec. 15 and 17, 2020 respectively. One redefines “habitat” to exclude any place where the animals currently do not live while the other gives industry and polluters the opportunity to bring economics into the listing process for imperiled animals and plants — something Congress specifically forbade in 1982. Wolves have been delisted. Wolverines have been denied listing, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services (USFWS) defied a court order to create new plans for the conservation of the sage grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) by submitting documents that used the same wording and faulty claims that were rejected in 2019. The sage grouse is the subject of an expansive EnviroNews documentary and the center of the costliest endangered species battle in history. The aforementioned rule changes are but a fraction of the rollbacks rendered at the end of Trump’s term.

A complete list of the 135 groups is as follows:

Center for Biological Diversity

350 Massachusetts for a Better Future

350Mass.

All-Creatures.org

Allamakee County Protectors

American Horse Protection Society

Animal Legal Defense Fund

Animal Protection League of New Jersey

Animal Welfare Institute

Animal Wellness Action

Animal Wellness Foundation

Animals Are Sentient Beings, Inc.

Animas Valley Institute

Appalachian Trail Conservancy

Athens County’s Future Action Network (acfan.org) -SE Ohio

Audubon Society of Central Arkansas

Battle Creek Alliance/Defiance Canyon Raptor Rescue

Berkshire Environmental Action Team (BEAT)Beyond Pesticides

Bird Conservation Network

Black Warrior Riverkeeper

Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project

Boulder Rights of Nature, Inc.

Bucks Environmental Action

Cahaba River Society

California Wildlife Foundation

Center for a Humane Economy Christian Council of Delmarva

Ciudadanos Del Karso

Clean Energy Action -Colorado

Climate Health Now

Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life

Coastal Plains Institute

Colorado Riverkeeper

Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting

Concerned on Burrows Road

Conservation Council For Hawaii

Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society

Don’t Waste Arizona

Earth Action, Inc.

Earth Path Sanctuary

Earthkeeper Health Resources Eastern Coyote/Coywolf Research

Eco-Eating

Endangered Small Animal Conservation Fund

Endangered Species Coalition

Environmental Protection Information Center

Fairbanks Climate Action Coalition

Friends of the Inyo

Friends of WI Wolf and Wildlife

Fuerza Mundial Global, Continuum

Gaviota Coast Conservancy

Gila Resources Information Project

Golden Egg Permaculture

Grays Harbor Audubon Society

Great Lakes Wildlife Alliance

Great Old Broads for Wilderness

Green Country Sierra Club Group

Green River Action Network

GreenFaith

Healthy Gulf

Hoosier Environmental Council

Howling for Wolves

In Defense of Animals

In the Shadow of the Wolf

Information Network for Responsible Mining

Inland Ocean Coalition

International Marine Mammal Project of Earth Island Institute

Iowa Environmental Council

Jewish Climate Action Network -MA

John Muir Project of Earth Island Institute

Justice for Wolves

Kentucky Heartwood

Klamath Forest Alliance

League of Humane Voters® of New York

Living Rivers

Long Beach Alliance for Clean Energy

Los Padres ForestWatch

Malama Makua

Maryland Ornithological Society

Massachusetts Forest Watch

Missouri Coalition for the Environment

Native Plant Conservation Campaign

NH Audubon

North Country NYPAN

Northeast Oregon Ecosystems

Northern Jaguar Project

Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides

Northwest Environmental Advocates

Oasis Earth

Ocean Conservation Research

Oceanic Preservation Society

Oregon Natural Desert Association

Our Santa Fe River

Physicians for Social Responsibility, AZ

Portland Raging Grannies

POWAZ

Preserve Monroe

Project Eleven Hundred

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility

Public Lands Project

Raptors Are The Solution

Resource Renewal Institute

RESTORE: The North Woods

Rocky Mountain Wild

San Bernardino Valley Audubon Society

San Diego Coastkeeper

Santa Barbara Standing Rock Coalition

Save The Colorado

SAVE THE FROGS!

Save the Manatee Club

Sequoia ForestKeeper®

ShoreRivers Inc.

South Asian Fund for Education, Scholarship and Training (SAFEST)

South Florida Wildlands Association

Spokane Riverkeeper

Stop the Algonquin Pipeline Expansion

Sullivan Alliance for Sustainable Development

Sunrise Movement, Fairview High School

Sustainable Arizona

The Lands Council

Trap Free Montana

Trap Free Montana Public Lands

Turner Endangered Species Fund

Turtle Island Restoration Network

Unexpected Wildlife Refuge

Upper Green River Alliance

Volusia Climate Action

Vote-Climate

Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility

WESPAC Foundation, Inc.

Western Watersheds Project

Wild Fish Conservancy

Wild Nature Institute

Wildcoast

WildEarth Guardians

Wolf Conservation Center

Women’s March Santa Barbara

Zero Hour

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