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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

Hundreds of corporations sign statement opposing restrictive voting bills

Former American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault. Photo: Earl Gibson III/WireImage)

Hundreds of companies and executives released a letter on Wednesday condemning legislation that restricts "any eligible voter from having an equal and fair opportunity to cast a ballot," per the New York Times.

Why it matters: It's the most concerted action yet by big business in opposition to GOP-sponsored bills at the state level that limit mail-in ballots, implement new voter ID requirements and slash registration options, among other measures.

51 mins ago - Axios Twin Cities

Brooklyn Center mayor in the spotlight after Daunte Wright shooting

Mike Elliott has moved swiftly after the death of Daunte Wright. Photo: Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images)

The killing of Daunte Wright by a Brooklyn Center, Minn., police officer has thrust Mayor Mike Elliott into the national spotlight.

The big picture: Elliott, with the backing of the city council, has acted quickly and boldly in the wake of the shooting. He fired longtime city manager Curt Boganey, took control of the police department and called for the firing of officer Kim Potter, who resigned on Tuesday.

Exclusive: White House meeting with members of Problem Solvers Caucus

Members of the Problem Solvers Caucus discuss the COVID-19 relief bill in December. Photo: Oliver Contreras/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Top White House officials will meet Wednesday with a bipartisan coalition of House lawmakers as the administration tries to enlist moderates to support the president's infrastructure proposal.

Why it matters: The meeting is something of an olive branch after President Biden's team courted groups of progressives to back the $2.2 trillion package.