Restore the Endangered Species Act

What's At Stake

The Biden administration just moved closer to undoing the Trump administration’s unprecedented damage to the regulations that interpret the Endangered Species Act. For 50 years, the Act’s served as the last line of defense for countless species and habitats. Today, it is our strongest tool for tackling the worsening biodiversity crisis, which is why the Biden administration must fix the rules that implement it.

Since the Trump administration began its attacks on the Endangered Species Act four years ago on behalf of special interests who stood to profit, Earthjustice attorneys have fought back in court. And advocates like you submitted tens of thousands of comments, calling out the Trump administration for its shameless actions. Your support helped persuade the Biden administration to undo parts of the Trump administration’s damage last year.

Despite the broad support for restoring and strengthening the rules that implement the Act, the Biden administration declined to do everything within its power to protect endangered wildlife. It left multiple loopholes from the Trump-era rollbacks in place, which will undoubtedly jeopardize future efforts to protect wildlife and habitat.

This is unacceptable — the Biden administration promised a return to normalcy, yet these proposed rules do not fully undo the Trump administration’s damage. Tell the Biden administration to restore the Act’s regulations to their former strength.

The Endangered Species Act is wildly popular and effective. It has prevented extinctions, recovered imperiled plants and animals, and protected the ecosystems on which they depend. Ninety-nine percent of species that have received protection under the Act — including bald eagles, Florida manatees, and gray wolves — have been spared from extinction.

Fully undoing the damage the Trump administration inflicted upon the Endangered Species Act is necessary, but ultimately we need the Biden administration to commit to strengthening the Act. In the coming decades, a million of Earth’s species face the possibility of extinction due to climate change, pollution, and habitat loss. Even species that are not yet on the brink will face huge population declines. The biodiversity crisis means fewer pollinators for agriculture, depleted fisheries, and disappearing places like old-growth forests and wetlands that provide a long-term, low-cost source of clean air and water.

Tell the Biden administration to restore the Endangered Species Act regulations.

A Mexican gray wolf.
The Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi)—the “lobo” of Southwestern lore—is the most genetically distinct lineage of wolves in the Western Hemisphere, and one of the most endangered mammals in North America. (Nagel Photography / Shutterstock)

Delivery to Secretary of the Interior Haaland

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Your Actions Matter

Your messages make a difference, even if we have leaders who don't want to listen. Here's why.

You level the playing field.

Elected officials pay attention when they see that we are paying attention. Read more.

They may be hearing from industry lobbyists left and right, but hearing the stories of their constituents — that’s your power.

Our legislators serve at the pleasure of the people who gave them their job — you.

Make sure your elected officials know whose community and whose values they represent. When you contact your elected official, you’re putting a face and a name on an issue.

Whether or not you voted for them, they work for you, for the duration of their term.

Make sure your elected officials know whose community and whose values they represent. (Find your local, state, and federal elected officials.)

Your action is with us in court.

If a federal agency finalizes a harmful action, the record of public comments provides a basis for bringing them into court. Read more.

Throughout each of the public comment periods we alert you to, Earthjustice’s attorneys are researching and writing in-depth, technical comments to submit — detailing how the regulation could and should be stronger to protect the environment, our communities, and our planet.

We need you to join us — your specific experiences, knowledge, and voice are crucial to add to the Administrative Record through the comment periods.

Lawsuits we file that challenge weak or harmful federal regulations rely on what was submitted during the comment period. The court can only look at documents that are in the Administrative Record — including the public comments — to decide if the agency did something improper.

Your actions aid our litigation. Taking action and submitting comments during a comment period is substantively important.

It’s the law.

Federal agencies must pause what they’re doing and ask for — and consider — your comment. Read more.

Many of us may have never heard of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), but laws like these require our government to ask the public to weigh in before agencies adopt or change regulations.

Regulations essentially describe how federal agencies will carry out laws — including decisions that could undermine science, or weaken safeguards on public health.

Public comments are collected at various points throughout the federal government’s rulemaking process, including when a regulation is proposed and finalized. (Learn about the rulemaking process.) These comments become part of the official, legal public record — the “Administrative Record.”

When the public responds with a huge outpouring of support for environmental protections, these individual messages collectively undercut politicians' attempts to claim otherwise.

What this means is each of us can take a role in shaping the rules our government creates — and ensuring those rules are fair and effective.