New Episode of Resources Radio on the Trump Administration's Proposed Changes to the Endangered Species Act, with Ya-Wei Li


Aug. 20, 2019

News Type

Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC—Resources for the Future (RFF) today released a new installment of Resources Radio: “Is the Endangered Species Act Under Threat?, with Ya-Wei Li.”

Host Daniel Raimi talks with Ya-Wei Li, the Director of Biodiversity at the Environmental Policy Innovation Center (EPIC) in Washington, DC. Li discusses the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and the Trump administration’s proposed changes to the Act. Li explains the ambiguity around the successes and failures of the ESA over its nearly 50-year history, benefits and drawbacks of the new regulations, and his own ideas for improving the ESA’s monitoring processes through the use of satellite technology.

Listen here.

Notable quotes from the podcast:

  • “The poster child of endangered species . . . will usually be an animal. Most people do not know that 57 percent of all US listed species are plants. And that's surprising to a lot of people because you almost never hear about the plants under the [Endangered Species Act].” —Ya-Wei Li (9:34)
  • “[In the proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act] there is a new definition of how far into the future is ‘foreseeable’ when it comes to deciding whether or not to list a species as threatened. This concept of foreseeable future has a lot of bearing on whether climate change is considered as part of a listing decision.” —Ya-Wei Li (20:21)
  • “I don't think [the new regulations are] apocalyptic in terms of completely gutting the Endangered Species Act, but absolutely, they're going to be in the direction of less protection . . . the federal government has left itself so much discretion in how it interprets concepts . . . so we're really going to have to track what happens on a case-by-case basis.” —Ya-Wei Li (21:17)

Resources Radio is a weekly podcast series exploring timely environmental, energy, and natural resources topics, and can be found on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, and SoundCloud.

Resources for the Future (RFF) is an independent, nonprofit research institution in Washington, DC. Its mission is to improve environmental, energy, and natural resource decisions through impartial economic research and policy engagement. RFF is committed to being the most widely trusted source of research insights and policy solutions leading to a healthy environment and a thriving economy.

Unless otherwise stated, the views expressed here are those of the individual authors and may differ from those of other RFF experts, its officers, or its directors. RFF does not take positions on specific legislative proposals.

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