Biden Administration Proposes Repealing Regulations That Undermine Species Recovery

A Florida panther walks among greenery
Photo by David Shindle

Washington, DC—The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) applauds the US Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service for proposing Tuesday to repeal two rules that undermine the Endangered Species Act (ESA). These rules, finalized in 2020 under the previous administration, harm threatened and endangered species by making it harder to protect habitat critical for their survival. Given the unprecedented rate of biodiversity decline, these rules should be repealed as quickly as possible.

The first rule established a new definition of “habitat” that limits protection of areas vital to recovering threatened and endangered species, particularly in the wake of climate change and ecological destruction.

The second rule excluded habitat on federal land from protection if developing the land would produce greater economic benefits than protecting it for wildlife. This allowed energy development, grazing, logging, and other commercial uses on land that threatened and endangered species need to survive and recover as they face increasing habitat loss due to land conversion, pollution, and changing temperature and weather patterns.

“We are in the midst of an extinction crisis and have no time to waste,” said Cathy Liss, president of AWI. “Listed species with protected habitat are more than twice as likely to move toward recovery compared to listed species without it. The Biden administration’s proposal to repeal these two regulations is an important step toward upholding the Endangered Species Act’s goal of promoting species recovery.”

AWI also urges the federal agencies to follow through on their stated intention to revise or repeal the three remaining regulations implemented by the previous administration that further erode the ESA.

Media Contact Information

Marjorie Fishman, Animal Welfare Institute
[email protected], (202) 446-2128

The Animal Welfare Institute ( is a nonprofit charitable organization founded in 1951 and dedicated to reducing animal suffering caused by people. AWI engages policymakers, scientists, industry, and the public to achieve better treatment of animals everywhere—in the laboratory, on the farm, in commerce, at home, and in the wild. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for updates and other important animal protection news.