Federal Agencies Reverse Trump Limits on Habitat Protection

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — The Biden administration on Thursday withdrew a rule adopted under former President Donald Trump that limited which lands and waters could be designated as places where imperiled animals and plants could receive federal protection.

A definition of “habitat” published in December 2020, shortly before Trump left office, restricted areas the government could identify as critical for particular wildlife. Environmental advocates said the move would put more species on a path toward extinction, while supporters said it would secure private property rights.

In rescinding the rule, The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service said it could hamper their mission to make science-based critical habitat decisions.

“The growing extinction crisis highlights the importance of the Endangered Species Act and efforts to conserve species before declines become irreversible,” said Shannon Estenoz, assistant interior secretary for fish, wildlife and parks.

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