The Trump administration is moving to reduce endangered species protections, in spite of a United Nations report published this week which argues that 12.5 percent of the world’s plants and species are at risk for extinction, Newsweek reports.
The report claimed that human actions have resulted in the extinction of more than one million species and that biodiversity is decreasing at “an unprecedented phase.”
U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt said he was aware of the U.N. study, but hadn’t been fully briefed on it.
On Friday, the secretary said, “We didn’t start doing them to not do them,” referring to a set of regulations that would limit the protection of endangered species by taking into account the economic impact of safeguarding them. Bernhardt previously wrote that the Endangered Species Act puts “unnecessary regulatory burden” on corporations.
President Trump has long sought to remove environmental protections that reduce gas and oil profits. The administration, for example, will no longer fine companies for the unintentional killing of birds -- a common side effect of oil spills.
Environmental protection groups like Earthjustice have said these regulatory rollbacks are illegal and intend to challenge them in court.