Attorney General Becerra Secures Court Ruling Advancing Lawsuit Challenging Rollback of Endangered Species Act

Monday, May 18, 2020
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SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today applauded the U.S. District Court’s refusal to dismiss a multistate lawsuit challenging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service’s weakening of the federal Endangered Species Act.

“When a species goes extinct, there’s no turning back the clock,” said Attorney General Becerra. “In California, we recognize the importance of biodiversity, and we cherish the hundreds of endangered species that make their home in this state. We commend the court for moving this challenge onward and look forward to continuing our strong fight against these unlawful rules.”

In September 2019, Attorney General Becerra, along with Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey and Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, led a coalition of 18 attorneys general and the City of New York in filing a lawsuit challenging the Trump Administration’s disastrous changes to the Endangered Species Act. The next month, Attorney General Becerra welcomed Minnesota and Washington into the coalition. In their complaint, the coalition argues that the rules are arbitrary and capricious under the Administrative Procedure Act, unauthorized under the Endangered Species Act, and unlawful under the National Environmental Policy Act.

For over 45 years, the Endangered Species Act has protected thousands of iconic and threatened species, including the bald eagle, California condor, grizzly bear, and humpback whale. Enacted under the Nixon Administration in 1973, the Endangered Species Act is intended “to halt and reverse the trend toward species extinction, whatever the cost.” In California, there are over 300 species listed as endangered or threatened under the Act – more than any other mainland state. Additionally, California has tens of millions of acres of federal public lands subject to consultation requirements under the Endangered Species Act.

A copy of the decision can be found here.

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