Among a series of changes to the Endangered Species Act recently proposed by Trump administration officials is a provision that would define the “foreseeable future” as the time period extending “only as far as they can reasonably determine that both the future threats and the species’ responses to those threats are probable.”

Rodney Sayler

Environmental groups and scientists see the proposed changes as an attempt to limit the protections extended to new species.

“It is difficult to place any trust whatsoever in an administration that so openly disdains data, logic, information, reason, and the critical role of science in informed decision making,” says Rod Sayler, associate professor of environmental science at Washington State University. “By opening the door to interpreting what ‘foreseeable future’ means, people may discount potential longer-term threats (such as those from climate change) and argue for shorter-term perspectives and more immediate benefits of development activities.”

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