The following is a press release from the Massachusetts Attorney general’s office.
BOSTON – Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey issued the following statement in response to last night’s federal court ruling from the Northern District of California, denying the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Services’s motion to dismiss AG Healey’s challenge to the Trump Administration’s rollbacks of critical protections in the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
“We are pleased with the court’s ruling allowing our case against the Trump Administration to move forward. President Trump’s effort to erode the Endangered Species Act is illegal and threatens our ecosystem and puts our vibrant tourism and recreation industries at risk. That’s why we sued to stop it.”
Last fall, AG Healey, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh led a coalition of 20 states and the City of New York in suing the Trump Administration over its final rules gutting critical ESA protections for at-risk wildlife and their habitats.
The ESA is one of the country’s most successful environmental laws. Since it was enacted more than four decades ago with nearly unanimous bipartisan support, 99 percent of all ESA-listed species have escaped extinction.
The law has boosted the state’s tourism and recreation industries that fuel Massachusetts’s economy. Massachusetts is home to at least 25 endangered or threatened species listed and protected under the ESA, including the piping plover and the leatherback sea turtle.
Thanks to cooperative state and federal actions, the piping plover has rebounded nationally, especially in Massachusetts where populations have increased by 500 percent since 1990.
The coalition’s lawsuit argues the final rules will significantly harm species recovery efforts, deeply undermining the ESA’s focus on science while allowing the federal government to ignore or discount the profound threats that climate change poses to species and the environment.
The final rules, the attorneys general allege, will shift the burden of protecting imperiled species and habitats onto states, imposing significant costs and detracting from their efforts to carry on their own programs.