xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

Maryland Attorney General Frosh joins lawsuit challenging Trump administration’s wildlife protection rollback

The tiny bog turtle was approved this year by New Jersey lawmakers to be the state reptile. It's among the 13 animals and eight plants listed as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act by Maryland.
The tiny bog turtle was approved this year by New Jersey lawmakers to be the state reptile. It's among the 13 animals and eight plants listed as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act by Maryland. (Justin Dalaba / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

Maryland’s top attorney has joined a lawsuit that seeks to halt the Trump administration’s rollback of wildlife protections under the Endangered Species Act.

Attorney General Brian Frosh’s office wrote in a news release that the state is joining a coalition of 18 attorneys general and New York City in challenging the decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service to finalize three rules the group says “undermine the key requirements and purpose of the Endangered Species Act.”

Advertisement

The attorneys general of Maryland, California, and Massachusetts are leading the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

“The Trump Administration is waging war on the ESA’s decades of success, undoing protections that have saved many kinds of wildlife and preserved millions of acres of critical habitat,” Frosh wrote in a news release. “Deciding whether to protect endangered species is not an economic question. These decisions must be guided by science, not by profits and political influence.”

Advertisement
Advertisement

The administration announced last month that it would make significant changes to the act, which ended blanket protections for endangered species and allowed federal officials to evaluate the economic cost of protecting a species. The changes will go into effect Thursday.

The act protects more than 1,600 plant and animal species across the country and its territories, Frosh wrote in the release.

In the lawsuit, Frosh identifies 13 animals and eight plants that are listed as endangered or threatened under the act, such as the dwarf wedgemussel, a type of freshwater mussel; the Puritan tiger beetle; and the bog turtle.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, there were fewer than 15,000 living dwarf wedgemussels in the Delaware River and four of its tributaries in 2016. It has been a federally listed endangered species since 1990, according to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Advertisement

According to the suit, the agencies “provided no reasoned explanation for the substantial ... of circumstances in which the Services may find it is ‘not prudent’ to designate critical habitat for list species” and doesn’t address “threats resulting from climate change or the myriad conservation benefits to species that are provided by critical habitat designations.”

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement