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The Ongoing Republican War on Wildlife

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One of the many ways that Donald Trump is by no means worse than the average Republican politician is on wildlife issues, especially around endangered species. Republicans have wanted to drive species into extinction for nearly a half-century now if that’s what business wants.

The Trump administration is moving to restrict what land and water areas can be declared as “habitat” for imperiled plants and animals — potentially excluding locations that species could use in the future as climate change upends ecosystems.

An administration proposal obtained in advance by The Associated Press and publicly released Friday would for the first time define “habitat” for purposes of enforcing the Endangered Species Act, the landmark law that has dictated species protections efforts in the U.S. since 1973.

A final decision is expected by year’s end, with broad implications for how lands are managed and how far the government must go in protecting plants and animals that could be sliding toward extinction.

Democratic lawmakers and wildlife advocates said the proposal ignores shifting threats to wildlife and plants due to climate change and habitat loss.

It follows other steps under Trump to scale back or alter endangered species rules, including lifting blanket protections for animals newly listed as threatened and setting cost estimates for saving species.

The Republican Party must truly be ground into dust.

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