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Thursday August 22nd, 2019 4:36PM

The Latest: States vow suit over endangered species rollback

By The Associated Press
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the Trump administration's changes to the Endangered Species Act (all times local):

3:20 p.m.

California and Massachusetts say they'll go to court to fight the Trump administration's overhaul of the Endangered Species Act.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (hahv-YEHR' beh-SEH'-rah) said Monday that they planned to sue. It came hours after the administration announced broad changes to the way the government would enforce endangered species protections.

Both Democratic state prosecutors pointed to a United Nations report earlier this year warning that more than 1 million species globally are in danger of extinction.

Becerra told reporters that "this is not the time to go low, go slow or go backward."

Several conservation groups also have promised court fights. The administration says the changes will reduce regulatory burdens while still protecting struggling species.

___

11 a.m.

The Trump administration has finalized changes to enforcement of the landmark Endangered Species Act, a move it says will improve transparency and effectiveness but critics say will drive more creatures to extinction.

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt unveiled the changes Monday.

The changes end blanket protections for animals newly deemed threatened and allow federal authorities for the first time to take into account the economic cost of protecting a particular species.

Conservation groups say the changes disregard the impacts from climate change, one of the largest threats to habitation.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service official Margaret Everson said the changes "provide the maximum degree of regulatory certainty" while protecting species.

___

10:05 a.m.

The Trump administration is finalizing major changes Monday to the way it enforces the landmark Endangered Species Act, a move it says will reduce regulatory burden but critics charge will drive more creatures to extinction.

The administration was making public a final rule overhauling the way the federal government handles protections for plants and animals at risk of extinction. Information about the rule was obtained by The Associated Press beforehand.

The Endangered Species Act is credited with helping save the bald eagle, California condor and scores of other animals and plants from extinction since President Richard Nixon signed it into law in 1973.

At least 10 attorneys general joined conservation groups in protesting an early draft of the changes, saying they put more wildlife at greater risk of extinction.

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