Popular Science

Here are 10 plants and animals that might have gone extinct without the Endangered Species Act

The administration has proposed changes to the popular law.
bald eagle

America's national bird is one of the ESA's biggest success stories.

Last Thursday, the Trump administration announced a proposal to cut provisions in the Endangered Species Act (ESA)—the law that for almost half a century, has protected plants and animals at risk of extinction. The law has broad and bipartisan support across the country, with around 80 percent of Americans expressing their support for the law.

Announced jointly by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration—the two agencies that govern the ESA—the proposed changes aim to “improve collaboration, efficiency, and effectiveness,” but those opposing the proposal argue that it may leave some plants and animals more vulnerable.

For conservationists, one of the most concerning changes is striking out language that previously prevented economics from factoring in on decisions to protect species. As the , how to best preserve a vulnerable habitat is based purely on scientific data, not cost. Some worry that removing this rule to develop near protected habitats. In addition, the new proposal means threatened species would no longer be extended the

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