Trump vs Endangered Species Hope for Coral

This week's investigative reporting, analysis and environmental news.
The Revelator

No. 93, Aug. 15, 2019

Hello Revelator readers,

The Trump administration this week rolled out new regulations that dramatically weaken the Endangered Species Act. The new rules contain many regressive changes, including possibly making it harder to protect species from the threats of climate change. Read about them here, and expect more coverage soon.

Species around the world also need help. Take the tokay gecko, for example. Commonly sold as pets, these small reptiles are also traded by the millions for use in traditional medicine. A discussion pending at this month's big CITES wildlife-trade conference could change that.

Sharks and rays are also up for votes at the CITES meeting, including a heavily exploited group of related species known as "rhino rays" (because of their big and interesting noses). Unfortunately, these rhino rays (giant guitarfish and wedgefish) are now the most endangered group of marine fishes and desperately need international protection.

Other species depend on new science to aid their conservation. That's why researchers at the California Academy of Science's Hope for Reefs initiative are studying how coral reproduce — and what they learn could help threatened coral reefs around the world.

Finally this week, defending the planet often comes with a cost. We have a look at the shocking number of environmentalists murdered each year.

Subscriber bonus: The Wild 5

Let's go a little deeper. Here are five additional stories from around the web that we're watching this week.

1. The Trump administration's plan to gut the Endangered Species Act imperils thousands of species. To wrap your head around what that means, here's a look at how it would affect three of those species.

2. Climate change is driving up global temperatures — but not evenly. A new investigation mapped the fastest-warming areas of the United States and found some surprises.

3. Scientist Gregory Wetherbee collected rainwater samples from Colorado's Rocky Mountains to study nitrogen pollution but instead found microscopic plastic fibers.

4. This week 22 states and seven cities sued the Trump administration over its new plan to roll back more stringent guidelines for power plants set by the Obama-era Clean Power Plan.

5. Rats pose grave dangers to seabirds and other wildlife, which is why a single rat loose on an island in the Bering Sea led to an expensive 10-month chase by officials.

In case you missed it:

From Kochland to Standing Rock: Here are the 16-plus best environmental books of August.

What should we cover next?

Drop us a line anytime. We welcome your ideas and inside scoops.

Coming up:

We'll continue to follow the Endangered Species Act and the CITES wildlife trade meeting in the coming weeks. Also on the agenda: a look at how pollution robs communities of color, an essay about improving primate research, our latest video (or two), and a whole lot more.

Look for our links in next week's newsletter — or follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the headlines as they go live. We also share other news there, too, so feel free to join us and keep the discussion going.

As always, thank you for reading.

John Platt

John R. Platt
Editor, The Revelator


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