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Lawsuit to Be Filed to Protect Green Sea Turtle Habitat

August 20, 2019



A notice to sue the Trump Administration for failing to protect the green sea turtle has been filed by the Center for Biological Diversity, Sea Turtle Oversight Protection and Turtle Island Restoration Network. The notice was filed in response to a National Marine Fisheries Service and Fish and Wildlife Service study that found in 2016 that growing climate change, sea level rise threats and plastic pollution will continue to threaten Chelonia mydas and these reptiles still need Endangered Species Act protections, yet the Trump administration has not protected these reptiles.

green sea turtle

Mark Sullivan/NOAA

Under new Trump administration rules, green sea turtle habitat would no longer be protected.
 

“The recovery of most green sea turtle populations is a beacon of hope in our changing oceans, but we’ve got to protect the places they live,” Jaclyn Lopez, Florida director at the Center for Biological Diversity said in a news release. “Protecting sea turtle habitat will keep them crossing oceans and loyally coming ashore to dig nests on our beaches.”

The Trump administration has changed much of the Endangered Species Act, and these changes to the act will no longer protect green and loggerhead turtles. The administration has changed the rules in part to allow for the economic effects that putting an animal on the Endangered Species list, to be considered. Previous rules that had been in the act for decades did not put price tags on saving species. Another rule change allows the federal government to disregard the possible impacts of climate change when establishing a protected habitat, a problem that has serious negative effects on sea turtles. 

Green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) on the northern Great Barrier Reef, is home to one of the largest populations of female green sea turtles in the world, and apparently, on Raine Island, the offspring there for the last 20 years have been almost exclusively female. See "Warming Planet Causes 99 Percent of Raine Island Sea Turtle Hatchlings To Be Female, Study Says."

“The Trump administration’s moral and legal attacks on our country’s greatest achievements extend all the way to the gentle and defenseless sea turtles that are guaranteed protection under the Endangered Species Act,” Todd Steiner, biologist and executive director of Turtle Island Restoration Network said in the statement. “It is unconscionable.”

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