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The Endangered Species Act helped save the bald eagle from extinction. Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Trump administration finalized sweeping changes on Monday to the Endangered Species Act that roll back protections for at-risk plants and animals and make it easier to delist species.

Why it matters: The landmark act from the Nixon administration contributed to saving the bald eagle, the grizzly bear and the American alligator, per the New York Times. The Trump administration claims the changes will help reduce regulatory burden on the Interior Department.

A draft of the new rule released last year broadly adheres to the administration's new changes, per AP. These include:

  • Weakening protections and possibly delisting animals that are newly considered threatened.
  • Allowing federal authorities to consider the economic costs of protecting certain species for the first time.
  • Allowing authorities to ignore the impacts on endangered species from climate change.

The big picture: Oil companies, real estate developers, ranchers and other industries have long argued that the ESA creates roadblocks to economic and resource development, but GOP-led efforts to alter the underlying statute have previously fallen short.

What they’re saying: A number of industry and business lobbying groups applauded the move.

“The new revisions to the Endangered Species Act strike an appropriate balance between the protection of species and land and natural resource development."
— Christopher Guith, a senior official with the powerful U.S. Chamber of Commerce

But environmental groups said the changes will make it harder to protect polar bears, coral reefs and other species.

The regulations will allow for the construction of roads, mines, pipelines and "other industrial projects in critical habitat areas that are essential to imperiled species' survival," groups that include the Sierra Club, Earthjustice, the Natural Resources Defense Council and others said in a joint statement.

What’s next: Environmental groups and Democratic attorneys general from several states are expected to file lawsuits aimed at blocking the changes.

Go deeper

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Trump to issue at least 100 pardons and commutations before leaving office

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump plans to issue at least 100 pardons and commutations on his final full day in office Tuesday, sources familiar with the matter told Axios.

Why it matters: This is a continuation of the president's controversial December spree that saw full pardons granted to more than two dozen people — including former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, longtime associate Roger Stone and Charles Kushner, the father of Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

  • The pardons set to be issued before Trump exits the White House will be a mix of criminal justice ones and pardons for people connected to the president, the sources said.
  • CNN first reported this news.

Go deeper: Convicts turn to D.C. fixers for Trump pardons

Schumer's m(aj)ority checklist

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Capitalizing on the Georgia runoffs, achieving a 50-50 Senate and launching an impeachment trial are weighty to-dos for getting Joe Biden's administration up and running on Day One.

What to watch: A blend of ceremonies, hearings and legal timelines will come into play on Tuesday and Wednesday so Chuck Schumer can actually claim the Senate majority and propel the new president's agenda.

The dark new reality in Congress

National Guard troops keep watch at security fencing. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

This is how bad things are for elected officials and others working in a post-insurrection Congress:

  • Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.) said she had a panic attack while grocery shopping back home.
  • Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said police may also have to be at his constituent meetings.
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) told a podcaster he brought a gun to his office on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 because he anticipated trouble with the proceedings that day.