14 Democratic AGs Urge Repeal of Trump-Era Wildlife Habitat Rules

  • A group of 14 Democratic AGs, led by California AG Rob Bonta, Maryland AG Brian Frosh, and Massachusetts AG Maura Healey, filed a comment letter with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service in support of rescinding two Trump administration rules that affect the designation of critical wildlife habitats and the definition of a wildlife habitat under the federal Endangered Species Act (“ESA”).
  • The letter notes that states have a significant interest in protecting wildlife resources, which they often hold in trust for their constituents, and argues that the federal government would fail to properly protect those resources as a result of Trump-era rules for habitat exclusion and for defining a habitat, imposing additional wildlife-protection burdens on states. The letter also argues that the process created by the habitat exclusion rule will result in a significant increase in areas excluded from critical habitat designations and their ESA protections, while the habitat definition rule defines “habitat” too narrowly and fails to account for conservation needs to ensure species recovery and survival as mandated by the ESA that may require the expansion of current habitats as well as habitat migration or restoration.
  • The letter further asserts that the rules violate the Administrative Procedures Act by not being properly considered and being arbitrary and capricious, and that they violate the National Environmental Protection Act by failing to consider and disclose their significant environmental impacts.