Minnesota joins lawsuit against Trump Administration for Endangered Species Act rollbacks

The Canada Lynx is one of the species protected in Minnesota by the Endangered Species Act. ( Education Images/Universal Images Group )

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison has joined 20 other states in suing the Trump Administration for rolling back parts of the Endangered Species Act.

California’s Attorney General first filed the suit in September. It argues the Trump Administration’s new rules would “dramatically weaken current protections and reduce federal Endangered Species Act enforcement and consultation, putting these endangered species and their habitats at risk of extinction,” according to a release.

The lawsuit challenges the Trump Administration’s rules as “arbitrary and capricious” and in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act, the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.

In Minnesota, the Topeka Shiner, the Canada Lynx and the Prairie Fringed Orchid are among the species protected by the act.

Ellison’s office said the Attorneys General were particularly concerned with the economic considerations injected into the Endangered Species Act and how species and habitats can be listed as threatened, especially as it relates to climate change-threatened habitats.

The Attorneys also argued that the new rules would reduce the amount of consultation and analysis required before federal agencies can take action.

Overall, their concerns stem from what they perceive as a departure “from the longstanding, conservation-based agency policy and practice,” of the Endangered Species Act.

Attorney General Ellison is joined in the lawsuit by Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul, who also joined the suit today; by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, who are leading the suit; and by the attorneys general of Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington; and by the City of New York.