A big mood: This critically endangered adult whooping crane is screaming into the void.
Image: AP

Unsurprisingly, the current American regime is not a fan of nature!

On Thursday, the Interior and Commerce departments, both in charge of protecting wildlife, proposed sweeping changes to the Endangered Species Act, the Washington Post reports.

One important provision change would have the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration remove language that prohibits factoring in economic considerations when deciding whether to protect wildlife. The proposal reads:

“We propose to remove the phrase ‘without reference to possible economic or other impacts of such determination’ . . . to more closely align with the statutory language. The act requires the secretary to make determinations based ‘solely on the basis of the best scientific and commercial data.’ ”

Conservationist are also, reportedly, particularly worried about the potential removal of a rule requiring federal agencies to consult scientists and wildlife agencies before being granted permits for such projects as oil drilling and logging. According to the New York Times, the administration has also proposed a change to the definition of “foreseeable future,” which could potentially give the government even more wiggle room when writing off the future effects of global warming.

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The Times reported that “the proposed revisions have far-reaching implications, potentially making it easier for roads, pipelines and other construction projects to gain approvals than under current rules.” It’s the same old story: What’s bad for the environment is good for business (and by “business” I mean the limited and short-sighted interests of the managing corporate class).

Of course, David L. Bernhardt, the deputy secretary of the Interior Department doesn’t see it that way, not out loud at least. Berhardt said of the proposed policy changes on Thursday, “Together these rules will be very protective and enhance the conservation of the species. At the same time we hope that they ameliorate some of the unnecessary burden, conflict and uncertainty that is within our current regulatory structure.”

Chris Goldfuss, senior vice president for energy and environment policy at the Center for American Progress said in a statement on Thursday that since the ESA was established in 1973 it “has successfully kept 99 percent of listed species from going extinct. Instead of continuing the hard work needed to conserve a healthy and vibrant environment for our kids and grandkids, this administration is working to further imperil the more than 1,600 threatened and endangered species.”