A change to the Endangered Species Act could harm plants and animals in Indiana that are awaiting federal help. A proposal by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would get rid of blanket protections for all species that are close to becoming endangered or “threatened.”
Instead, the Wildlife Service could choose to make specific rules for each species. That wouldn’t affect current threatened animals and plants, but it could hurt those on the waiting list — like Indiana’s tri-colored bat.
Tim Maloney is the senior policy director for the Hoosier Environmental Council. He says the Fish and Wildlife Service is already underfunded. It could take years for each threatened species to get its own protections.
“That to us guarantees that those species that are threatened will reach endangered status,” says Maloney.
Maloney says there are also some species, like bees, that don’t have extra protection from the state.
“It just doesn’t take the place of what’s provided in the federal Endangered Species Act,” he says.
In a statement, the Fish and Wildlife Service said it would take public comments on the Endangered Species Act before any changes are finalized.
Indiana Environmental reporting is supported by the Environmental Resilience Institute, an Indiana University Grand Challenge project developing Indiana-specific projections and informed responses to problems of environmental change.