The National Eagle Center in Minnesota has criticized the changes being made by the Trump Administration to the Endangered Species Act.
The White House announced this week changes that according to the New York Times would make it easier to remove a species from the endangered list, and roll back broad protections for "threatened species," a classification short of endangered.
Regulators would also be allowed to consider economic implications when deciding whether a species warrants protection from development or industry, though the policy notes that economic factors cannot be the sole reason for classifying a species as endangered or not.
The government claims the move would increase government transparency and improve the process for enacting protections for animals and plants, but it has attracted criticism from Democrats and, now, the National Eagle Center in Wabasha.
The Endangered Species Act, which was enacted in 1973, was vital in the recovery of the bald eagle. The famed bird was at risk of dying out in the U.S. because of the widespread use of the insecticide DDT.
"The bald eagle may have a favored status because it is so charismatic and serves as out national symbol of strength and freedom," National Eagle Center spokesman Ed Hahn told BMTN. "But scientists estimate that hundreds, if not thousands of other vital species face extinction if we don't continue to protect habitats and ecosystems."
"This change in interpretation of the Endangered Species Act will clearly have a negative impact on threatened species," it added.
Thanks to the act, the bald eagle was taken off the endangered list in 2007, and there are few places that exemplify the success of the bird's recovery like the Mississippi bluffs in southeast Minnesota.
Federally-protected endangered species in Minnesota include the piping plover bird and the Topeka shiner fish, while threatened species include the gray wolf, the northern long-eared bat, and the Canada lynx.