Ten AGs Submitted Comments Opposing Interior and Commerce Departments' Proposed Changes to Endangered Species Act Regulations

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra led a coalition of 10 attorneys generals in submitting comments to the Interior and Commerce Departments opposing a set of proposed rules that would curtail species protections under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The proposed rules depart from decades of ESA regulatory precedent, would limit protections for species threatened by climate change, and would inject economic analysis into listing decisions for species. The attorneys general noted that the proposed rules are “unauthorized by law” under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) because they depart from the text of the statute. On this point, the attorneys general called attention to a provision in Section 4 of the ESA which unambiguously prohibits the use of economic analysis in listing decisions. Additionally, the attorneys general noted that the administration had failed to meet its obligations under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) based on its lack of analysis into the “devastating environmental effects” of the proposed rules.