This bill works to protect species currently listed as endangered or threatened from environmental rollbacks by the federal government. Should the federal government delist a species, this legislation ensures that the taking, importation, transportation, possession or sale of that species will continue to be prohibited in New York State until a thorough investigation is conducted by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.
One million plant and animal species are on the verge of extinction, according to a recent United Nations report. The magnitude of this extinction threat is unprecedented in human history. At a time when climate change and habitat destruction are imperiling our food and water security, we should be seeking to expand protections for the plants and animals critical to our survival.
The federal government, however, has moved backwards when it comes to safeguarding biodiversity. In March 2019, for example, the Trump administration announced its intent to remove the grey wolf from the endangered species list. The federal government finalized regulatory changes in 2019 meant to weaken the landmark Endangered Species Act.
There are currently 1,470 animals listed as threatened or endangered by the federal Department of the Interior, yet only 53 species are specifically listed by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation as endangered and thus protected from federal rollbacks. By shoring up protections for federally listed species, this bill is a necessary first step towards addressing our current extinction crisis.
This bill amends Section 11-0535 of the Environmental Conservation Law to expand protections for endangered species.