After Trump’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services and NOAA released a new definition of habitat under the Endangered Species Act earlier today, Western Values Project Director Jayson O’Neill issued the following statement:
This 11th-hour giveaway to special interests by the Trump administration contradicts science, undermines the intent of the act and its ability to work effectively to protect threatened and endangered species, and will only accelerate the extinction crisis.
This new narrow definition of habitat was crafted by one of Trump’s most conflicted political appointees Karen Budd-Falen, the original darling of the anti-public lands Sagebrush Rebellion movement. Budd-Falen’s clear conflicts of interest raise serious ethical questions about her stated involvement in this process.”
Budd-Falen was one of the key architects of the Trump administration’s rollbacks to the ESA and worked on defining ‘habitat’ under the law, according to reporting by E&E News. At a Western Caucus Foundation policy roundtable, Budd-Falen told those in attendance to be ready for more proposed ESA reforms and that “our next round of regulations is going to deal with, No. 1, what is the definition of habitat.” Both issues that Budd-Falen has and is working on have major implications for the imperiled sage grouse and her sprawling ranching empire.
Full research on Karen Budd-Falen here.