This week, the Trump Administration unveiled a new environmental plan for the western portion of the United States. The plan deals with how federal lands will be administered and regulated. A major section of the new plan is causing a great deal of controversy and has alarmed environmentalists.
Under the new regulations, oil and gas companies will face fewer regulations when it comes to exploring for oil and gas and drilling on federally owned lands. The regulations will also remove thousands of acres from protected status and open them up for drilling and energy exploration.
Environmentalists fear that the new federal plan will put many species at risk. They are most concerned about the sage grouse which is an endangered species. In the past, the sage grouse population was in the millions with the birds having large concentrations in a number of states. However, as a result of energy development and growing populations in the west, the number of birds has fallen to as low as 200,000 individuals.
During the Obama Administration, rules were put into effect that would seek to conserve the populations of the sage grouse. Many in western states opposed the Obama Administration rules. They said that it didn’t do enough to take into account the rights of the states.
The Audubon Society is at the forefront in opposing the new Trump Administration rules. The Audubon Society believes that the Trump Administration is attempting to remove all of the protections that are in place for endangered species throughout the United States. They believe that President Trump is removing protections in order to make it easier for oil, gas and mining companies to gather resources from across the country.
The new regulations will not be in effect right away. Many environmental groups are planning to sue in Federal Court in order to block the new regulations. Recently, environmentalists were successful in blocking the removal of the grizzly bear from the Endangered Species List through court action.