Environmentalists in Hawaii concerned about Trump Administration's call to scale back on Endangered Species Act
Environmentalists in Hawaii are concerned about the Trump Administration's call to scale back regulations under the Endangered Species Act.
One million species are on the endangered list because of human activity according to a United Nations report earlier this year, that's why environmental advocates say any scale back in protection would be detrimental.
"The species we have here are pretty unique, only here are they found. They're very vulnerable to changes because they live in a small area," Camilo Mora, geography and environment, University of Hawaii at Manoa, said.
Mora studies climate change and teaches his students at the UH Manoa about conservation. He's saddened by the latest move.
"We should be moving in the other direction which is to say we're protecting millions of acres from deforestation. Instead, we're moving the other way," Mora said.
The act provides a program to protect those at risk at where they're found. The President's overhaul would change how federal agencies consider whether or not habitats qualify for protection.
"The endangered species act is one of the most successful laws that we have related to the environment. I know that over 99 percent of the species that were covered under this law were saved from extinction," Jodi Malinoski, Sierra Club of Hawaii, said.
Critics fear it could be harmful to plants and animals already on the brink of extinction but allow for more activities including mining and oil and gas drilling.
"I just love these animals so much and to see protections get weakened for them or any of our native endemic species is a real slap in the face and I hope we as a community understand how important our native species are in Hawaii," Kahi Pacarro, Parley for the Oceans, said.
Environmentalists are afraid but are also hopeful because they feel lawmakers here will continue to push to protect what's on the endangered species list.
"We're just working on safeguarding what we have here and of course, responding to what's happening at the federal level, ensuring these rollbacks don't actually happen. It's very important to our organization," Malinoski said.
Some endangered animals that can be found in Hawaii waters include green sea turtles, Hawaiian monk seals and Giant Manta Rays.