Reprinted with permission from DCReport.
Republicans have been trying to weaken protections for endangered animals and now they are trying to get permission toÂ destroyÂ some records about what animals are protected.
Trumpâs Interior Department, headed by Ryan Zinke, wants to destroy records such as proposals to help endangered species recover and proposals for protecting where the animals live. The request is part of a proposed massive purge of Interior records that also includes records about oil and gas leases, timber sales, dams and land purchases.
âThis is really bad for endangered species, which need to be monitored over time and to ensure conservation action has been effective,â saidÂ Noah GreenwaldÂ of theÂ Center for Biological Diversity.Â âThis is yet another attempt by the Trump administration to undermine protections for endangered species for their buddies in various polluting industries.â
The reviewers did recommend permanently keeping records including final and summarized reports about endangered species and scientific assessments. Those records would be transferred to the National Archives where they would be more difficult to access under the Freedom of Information Act.
Writer Russ Kick whose web site,Â AltGov 2,Â features government data, said the Interior proposal is âa massive, department-wide request.â
More than 1,600 speciesÂ have been listed as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act which was signed into law by former President Richard Nixon in 1973. The law had strong support from Republicans in the 1970s.
Zinke is working to change how the Endangered Species Act is enforced. Zinke wants to make itÂ easier to remove protection for a species and have less protection for threatened species. He recently hired Robert Gordon, the author of aÂ reportÂ claiming the Endangered Species Act has cost our country hundreds of billions of dollars, as the deputy assistant secretary for policy at the Interior Department.
A recent memo at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, part of the Interior Department, directs staffers toÂ withhold or delay releasingÂ some public documents about how the Endangered Species Act is carried out.