Broad Coalition Submitted 800,000 Comments Opposing Trump’s Plan to Weaken the Endangered Species Act Regulations


Gwen Dobbs, Defenders of Wildlife,, 202-772-0269

Leda Huta, Endangered Species Coalition,, 202-320-6467

Virginia Cramer, Sierra Club,, 804-519-8449

Gwen Dobbs, Defenders of Wildlife,, 202-772-0269

Leda Huta, Endangered Species Coalition,, 202-320-6467

Virginia Cramer, Sierra Club,, 804-519-8449


WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, a broad coalition formally submitted more than 500,000 public comments bringing the total to more than 800,000 comments opposing proposed changes to the regulations implementing the Endangered Species Act. The Endangered Species Act is our nation’s most effective tool in saving wildlife facing extinction. On July 19th, the Trump administration proposed sweeping changes to the regulations implementing the Act that will leave threatened and endangered wildlife at risk. Among many of these proposals are plans to reverse a longstanding rule prohibiting consideration of economic impacts when deciding whether to list a species as endangered or threatened, eliminate key protections for threatened species and weaken bedrock consultation requirements.

“This shortsighted proposal to remove special protections for threatened and endangered species, including those in captivity, is both irresponsible and contrary to the ESA. We will continue fighting back against these shameful attacks on the ESA and the imperiled animals it protects.” – Stephen Wells, Executive Director, Animal Legal Defense Fund

“This drastic proposed revision of the Endangered Species Act is a clear-cut example of the administration favoring industry at the expense of at-risk wildlife. The preservation of our nation’s wildlife, which is beloved by Americans from coast to coast, is non-negotiable, and we will continue to fight this attack on our most vulnerable species.” – Cathy Liss, president of the Animal Welfare Institute

“This is the only planet we have. It’s our urgent responsibility to protect each thread in the fabric of life here for future generations, and provide a wild home for our rare and imperiled species." – Greg Dancho, Beardsley Zoo Director  

"Members of Congress and the Trump administration should listen to the 90 percent of Americans - from across the political spectrum - who support the ESA and recognize the law's crucial role not just in saving species from extinction, but also in protecting the ecosystems that these species call home." –Angela Grimes, Interim CEO, Born Free USA

“Imperiled species depend on the Endangered Species Act for their very lives. Our members and Americans have clearly spoken: Trump, hands off the Endangered Species Act. Our nation’s imperiled wildlife and wild lands and waters must be protected.” – Jamie Rappaport Clark, President and CEO of Defenders of Wildlife  

“President Trump and Secretary Zinke have proposed a disastrous set of regulatory changes to the Endangered Species Act that benefit powerful corporations in the oil & gas, mining, and other extractive industries, amounting to an ‘Extinction Plan’ for imperiled wildlife.” – Drew Caputo, Earthjustice’s Vice President of Litigation for Lands, Wildlife, and Oceans

“The Endangered Species Act has successfully prevented the extinction of the bald eagle, the humpback whale and grizzly bear. The Trump Administration’s proposal would severely damage our tradition of protecting endangered fish, wildlife and plants and the special places these species call home.”– Leda Huta, Executive Director, Endangered Species Coalition  

“We live in a world of excess, but we’re rapidly losing nature, including healthy habitats and their rich tapestry of species,” said Emma Shumway, conservation associate with Environment America. “The Endangered Species Act fulfills our obligation to protect other species, or at a minimum to limit the harm we’re doing. Weakening this vital conservation tool is simply the wrong choice.” 

“These damaging changes to the Endangered Species Act are being offered to pave the way for more polluting oil and gas infrastructure in this country,” stated Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. “The Trump Administration is determined to increase our addiction to harmful fossil fuels come hell or high water. If it gets its way, the increasing climate impacts will ensure that our communities will suffer both.”

“The Administration’s death-by-a-thousand-cuts approach aims to eviscerate one of the country’s most effective and popular laws, on which the survival of so many wildlife species depends. Keeping the ESA strong is critical if we are to ensure that imperiled species, including grizzly bears and African lions, do not go extinct.” – Tracie Letterman, Vice President of Federal Affairs, Humane Society Legislative Fund

“People and the planet need wildlife to thrive, and our collective wellbeing will be diminished if we lose even one more species to extinction,” said Beth Allgood, U.S. Country Director at the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). “We must do everything in our power to safeguard imperiled species—not weaken their protections, as the Services now propose to do.”

“Hundreds of thousands of Americans are calling out the Trump Administration’s attack on the Endangered Species Act. They can see that this is not an effort to reform the rules—it is an effort to gut them on behalf of special interests like Big Oil and major real estate developers.” – Rebecca Riley, Legal Director, Nature Program, Natural Resources Defense Council  

“We will not allow Secretary Zinke to dismantle the law that has supported the return of bald eagles soaring over Olympic, grizzly bears foraging with their cubs in Glacier and Channel Island foxes darting across hiking paths in Channel Islands National Parks,” said Theresa Pierno, President and CEO of National Parks Conservation Association. “National Parks Conservation Association stands in unwavering defense of the Endangered Species Act, which supports 600 threatened or endangered plant and animal species in our national parks.”

“As regional leaders in conservation, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium and Northwest Trek Wildlife Park have witnessed first-hand the public support and many benefits afforded by the Endangered Species Act and are urging our community to speak up on its behalf. At a time when species are become ever more imperiled, we should be focused on strengthening the ESA, not weakening it.” – Alan Varsik, Director of Zoological and Environmental Education for Metro Parks Tacoma

"From the largest animal ever to live on earth – the blue whale – to the tiny creatures that build coral reefs, the Endangered Species Act protects a spectacular array of ocean life," said Lara Levison with Oceana. "We urge the Trump administration to withdraw its proposals to weaken the ESA's protections for marine species."

“The public clearly supports saving endangered species. Sec. Zinke must abandon plans to rollback wildlife protections to ease the way for his corporate cronies to drill, mine and log,” said Dan Ritzman, Sierra Club Land, Water and Wildlife campaign director

“These attacks on the Endangered Species Act do not reflect the will of the American people, who overwhelmingly support this wildly successful law,” saidTaylor Jones, endangered species advocate for WildEarth Guardians. “Instead of rollbacks in the guise of ‘reform,’ cementing a legacy of extinction, the administration should be fully funding the implementation of the Endangered Species Act and the recovery of imperiled species.” 

“On our planet, endangered wildlife is struggling to survive, yet humans keep shifting the rules. The Endangered Species Act holds us accountable by creating a path for recovery for imperiled species. Animals do not hire lobbyists. It falls to us to speak for them. We must protect the Act that protects animals.” – Alejandro Grajal, PhD, Woodland Park Zoo President and CEO

"The effectiveness of the ESA is proven - 99 percent of species listed on it have avoided extinction, said Leigh Henry, Director for Wildlife Policy at World Wildlife Fund (WWF). "Importantly, the ESA is an example of US leadership, used by many countries as a model for their own conservation laws. What message does it send to the world if it is weakened?"

About the Sierra Club

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