Trump administration reverses Obama-era listing of the walrus as endangered

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has reversed an Obama-era ruling making the Pacific walrus an endangered species.

Washington Examiner:

The Pacific walrus will not be designated as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act, the Fish and Wildlife Service announced Wednesday, reversing an Obama administration finding that the walrus deserved protections because of the effects of global warming and receding Arctic sea ice.

"Their thorough review, driven by the best available data and science, found that the population of Pacific walrus is robust and healthy, and has proven that it can adapt to the changing conditions in the Arctic," said Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, who is chairwoman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

"This decision will allow for the continued responsible harvest of Pacific walrus for subsistence and traditional uses by Alaska Natives," she added.

The decision came after a 12-month review of the Pacific walrus status after receiving a petition as far back as 2008 for listing the Arctic marine mammal as endangered because of the loss of habitat caused by lower levels of annual sea ice. The agency had denied the petition, saying there was no significant evidence to support making an emergency endangerment finding.

Many scientists blame the loss of Arctic sea ice on manmade global warming spurred by increasing carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels.

The Center for Biological Diversity, the group that filed the initial petition, took the Fish and Wildlife Service to court nearly a decade ago. A settlement agreement was worked out in 2011, with a deadline for issuing a walrus rule set for Sept. 30, which the agency is addressing in the rulemaking sent to the Federal Register Wednesday.

The Center for Biological Diversity slammed the decision as a reflection of President Trump's denial of climate change, which it believes is reckless and harmful.

"This disgraceful decision is a death sentence for the walrus," said Shaye Wolf, the group's climate science director. "Walruses face extinction from climate change, and denying them critical protections will push them closer to the edge. The Trump administration's reckless denial of climate change not only harms the walrus and the Arctic but puts people and wildlife everywhere in danger."

The politics of the Endangered Species Act has always been at the forefront of deciding which species should be listed as "endangered."  In this case, the reasons to make the walrus a protected species are obvious: promotion of the global warming agenda.

Environmentalists have also tried to use the Endangered Species Act to stop development on public lands or even target a specific project like a dam.  There are hundreds of species that are, indeed, going extinct, and picking and choosing which ones should be "saved" has more to do with an alternate agenda than reasons purely devoted to conservation.

Some species will not be saved, either because the disruption to human society doesn't justify it or because they had already been going extinct without any help from man.  That means that intelligent choices will have to be made in listing a species as endangered.  Alas, that rarely happens.  No doubt, environmentalists will take the fish and wildlife agency to court to reverse the decision.  But the fascinating and wonderful thing about life on Earth is its remarkable adaptability to changing conditions.  The walrus is doing just fine, thank you, and doesn't need any "help" from greens to survive.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has reversed an Obama-era ruling making the Pacific walrus an endangered species.

Washington Examiner:

The Pacific walrus will not be designated as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act, the Fish and Wildlife Service announced Wednesday, reversing an Obama administration finding that the walrus deserved protections because of the effects of global warming and receding Arctic sea ice.

"Their thorough review, driven by the best available data and science, found that the population of Pacific walrus is robust and healthy, and has proven that it can adapt to the changing conditions in the Arctic," said Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, who is chairwoman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

"This decision will allow for the continued responsible harvest of Pacific walrus for subsistence and traditional uses by Alaska Natives," she added.

The decision came after a 12-month review of the Pacific walrus status after receiving a petition as far back as 2008 for listing the Arctic marine mammal as endangered because of the loss of habitat caused by lower levels of annual sea ice. The agency had denied the petition, saying there was no significant evidence to support making an emergency endangerment finding.

Many scientists blame the loss of Arctic sea ice on manmade global warming spurred by increasing carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels.

The Center for Biological Diversity, the group that filed the initial petition, took the Fish and Wildlife Service to court nearly a decade ago. A settlement agreement was worked out in 2011, with a deadline for issuing a walrus rule set for Sept. 30, which the agency is addressing in the rulemaking sent to the Federal Register Wednesday.

The Center for Biological Diversity slammed the decision as a reflection of President Trump's denial of climate change, which it believes is reckless and harmful.

"This disgraceful decision is a death sentence for the walrus," said Shaye Wolf, the group's climate science director. "Walruses face extinction from climate change, and denying them critical protections will push them closer to the edge. The Trump administration's reckless denial of climate change not only harms the walrus and the Arctic but puts people and wildlife everywhere in danger."

The politics of the Endangered Species Act has always been at the forefront of deciding which species should be listed as "endangered."  In this case, the reasons to make the walrus a protected species are obvious: promotion of the global warming agenda.

Environmentalists have also tried to use the Endangered Species Act to stop development on public lands or even target a specific project like a dam.  There are hundreds of species that are, indeed, going extinct, and picking and choosing which ones should be "saved" has more to do with an alternate agenda than reasons purely devoted to conservation.

Some species will not be saved, either because the disruption to human society doesn't justify it or because they had already been going extinct without any help from man.  That means that intelligent choices will have to be made in listing a species as endangered.  Alas, that rarely happens.  No doubt, environmentalists will take the fish and wildlife agency to court to reverse the decision.  But the fascinating and wonderful thing about life on Earth is its remarkable adaptability to changing conditions.  The walrus is doing just fine, thank you, and doesn't need any "help" from greens to survive.

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