Trump Additions to Endangered-Species List Are Lowest Since Reagan, Suit Claims

(Bloomberg) -- The Trump administration has failed to tackle a backlog of hundreds of requests to add species to the federal endangered or threatened list, approving the fewest since Ronald Reagan was president, an environmental conservation group alleged in a lawsuit.

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have added 16 plants and animals to the list under the landmark Endangered Species Act -- the lowest figure since 1982, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Washington by the Center for Biological Diversity.

At risk are species including the clam-shell orchid, the Elk River crayfish and Franklin’s bumblebee, an Oregon insect threatened by exotic diseases and the destruction of its alpine habitat by wildfire and climate change, the Tucson, Arizona-based nonprofit group said in the complaint.

The suit claims the listing decisions are late according to the Endangered Species Act’s statutory deadlines, as well as under the agency’s 2018 National Listing Workplan, which was intended to eliminate the backlog. Alleging violations of the federal Administrative Procedure Act, it seeks a court order for the government to list its findings on two dozen species. The agency’s website says the plan encourages “proactive conservation so that federal protections are not needed in the first place.”

The Interior Department’s press office didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment on the suit.

The case is Center for Biological Diversity v. Bernhardt, 1:19-cv-01071, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).

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