Trump changes Endangered Species Act protections

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the Trump administration’s changes to the Endangered Species Act (all times local):

11:01 a.m.

The Trump administration has finalized changes to enforcement of the landmark Endangered Species Act, a move it says will improve transparency and effectiveness but critics say will drive more creatures to extinction.

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt unveiled the changes Monday.

The changes end blanket protections for animals newly deemed threatened and allow federal authorities for the first time to take into account the economic cost of protecting a particular species.

Conservation groups say the changes disregard the impacts from climate change, one of the largest threats to habitation.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service official Margaret Everson said the changes “provide the maximum degree of regulatory certainty” while protecting species.

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10:06 a.m.

The Trump administration is finalizing major changes Monday to the way it enforces the landmark Endangered Species Act, a move it says will reduce regulatory burden but critics charge will drive more creatures to extinction.

The administration was making public a final rule overhauling the way the federal government handles protections for plants and animals at risk of extinction. Information about the rule was obtained by The Associated Press beforehand.

The Endangered Species Act is credited with helping save the bald eagle, California condor and scores of other animals and plants from extinction since President Richard Nixon signed it into law in 1973.

At least 10 attorneys general joined conservation groups in protesting an early draft of the changes, saying they put more wildlife at greater risk of extinction.