Three decades ago, a bird census counted fewer than 400 Kirtland's warblers, a small, golden-chested songbird that nests in young jack pine forests in the upper Midwest. On Tuesday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed the bird from the endangered species list, pointing to a remarkable recovery in population due to work by government, conservationists, land owners and charities.
The Interior and Commerce departments unveiled a proposed retrenchment of the Endangered Species Act that would remove key provisions, such as giving similar protection to species whether they are considered “endangered” or “threatened,” said the Washington Post.
Six Republican bills could change the face of the Endangered Species Act, says High Country News. For example, the Federally Integrated Species Health Act, introduced by California Republican Rep. Ken Calvert, would turn management of endangered salmon species entirely over to the Fish & Wildlife Service. As of now, the National Marine Fisheries Service co-manages endangered salmon with FWS.
A group representing farmers in Washington State and Oregon is urging the Interior Department to convene the “God squad” — an interagency committee empowered to override the Endangered Species Act — over complaints that the act's protections on salmon are hurting growers and others.
In the latest court ruling in a 20-year tussle over gray wolves in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin, the U.S. Appeals Court for the DC Circuit put the predator back on the endangered species list, says MLive Media Group. The Interior Department delisted the Great Lakes wolves in 2011, saying the wolf population had recovered enough that federal protection was no longer needed and states could take over management of the animals.
GOP leaders in Congress are targeting the Endangered Species Act with new bills in both the House and Senate. "The House Natural Resources Committee discussed five bills whose effects would include allowing the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to use economic costs to deny listing a species as threatened, require the agency to prioritize input in listing decisions from states, remove the gray wolf from the endangered list and limit payouts of attorneys’ fees in Endangered Species Act (ESA) litigation," says The Hill.
The grizzly bear will soon be delisted as an endangered species in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, according to a statement from the Department of the Interior. The area around Yellowstone National Park covers more than 20,000 square miles of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming.
Wolves can now by shot on site in 85 percent of Wyoming, after a federal court of appeals in Washington, D.C., ruled last month that the animal no longer warrants endangered species protection in the state, says the Casper Star Tribune.
Pesticide makers sent letters to federal regulators asking them to "set aside" agency research into the risks to endangered species from three organophosphate pesticides — chlorpyrifos, diazinon and malathion — says The Associated Press. Dow Chemical (whose chief executive "is a close adviser" to President Trump), FMC Corp. and Adama, sent letters to the EPA and the Commerce and Interior Departments to argue the studies should not be used.
“I have long advocated public service should be for a limited time and not a lifetime or full career,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a Utah Republican, about his decision to not run for re-election. “After more than 1,500 nights away from my home, it is time.”