For Immediate Release
Washington, DC

Today, President Trump will hold a White House press conference to greenwash his terrible environmental record. The Trump administration has attempted to roll back, undermine and obliterate our nation’s bedrock environmental laws, like the Endangered Species Act, Migratory Bird Treaty Act and National Environmental Policy Act among others in an effort to appease the oil and gas industry and other extractive industries making it easier to develop on our nation’s public lands. 

Jamie Rappaport Clark, president and CEO of Defenders of Wildlife, issued the following statement: 

“At a time where our planet needs true environmental leadership the most, President Trump and his administration are relentless in their attempts to greenwash the American people with unquestionably the worst environmental agenda in modern history. In January 2017, Defenders of Wildlife outlined eight conservation priorities for the new administration, yet, 20 months later we found that the administration fundamentally does not value wildlife, wild places, clean air and water, and a livable climate.  All this administration has offered so far are broken promises and lost opportunities.  We envisioned working together to restore and protect wildlife and habitat, but instead we are in the fight of our lives.”


•    In September 2018, Defenders released a report on the Trump Administration’s Assault on Wildlife Conservation, Assessing the Damage of the First 20 Months. 

•    This report revisits the eight conservation priorities we outlined in “A Wildlife Conservation Agenda for the Next Administration,” briefly summarizing the Trump administration’s attacks on each one during its first 20 months, our responses and the anti-conservation moves we expected next. 

•    Our agenda envisioned working together to protect and restore wildlife and habitat for current and future generations. Instead, we are in the fight of our lives to defend the Endangered Species Act and other bedrock environmental laws, protect federal lands, waters and our climate, and maintain science-based, public decision-making and management of our natural resources.

•    Here are some highlights of recommendations from our report: 

  • Protect and restore our endangered and threatened plants and animals. The Trump administration has completely ignored our recommendations for protecting imperiled species. Defenders is vigorously opposing the administration’s attacks on the Endangered Species Act (ESA), as well as the endless legislative attempts to undermine the law. The Trump administration has proposed sweeping changes to the regulations implementing the ESA, weakening rules governing species listing and designation and regulation of critical habitat, diminishing wildlife agencies’ ability to provide feedback, or “consultation,” on actions that could impact listed species, and opening the door for the consideration of economic impacts of listing species. Among many other actions undermining species conservation, the Trump administration has canceled a rule that would have placed limits on the number of endangered whales, dolphins and sea turtles that can be killed or injured by sword-fishing nets in the Pacific Ocean; denied ESA protections to the Pacific walrus and the Northern Rocky Mountain fisher; issued a seriously flawed recovery plan for the Mexican gray wolf; and proposed delisting the gray wolf nationwide.
  • Defend and responsibly manage our federal public lands. The Trump administration has focused with almost monomaniacal intensity on turning our public lands and waters, such as the Arctic Refuge National Wildlife Refuge, over to fossil fuel development and other extractive uses in the name of “energy dominance.” Defenders challenged the Trump administration’s spurious “review” of more than 30 national monuments and national marine sanctuaries; sued in federal court challenging President Trump’s illegal downsizing of Bear’s Ears National Monument, his withdrawals of President Obama’s protections for offshore waters, and his waivers of environmental laws to construct his border wall; and responded to assaults on the National Wildlife Refuge System with commentary and advocacy.
  • Protect wildlife from the impacts of climate change. Rather than accept the unequivocal findings of climate scientists and build on the progress of the previous administration, the Trump administration has systematically dismantled policies to protect against climate change, reversing years of work to reduce greenhouse gas pollution and prepare for and respond to the current climate change impacts. President Trump and his administration announced his intention to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement; issued an executive order that cripples our ability to take action on the global threat of climate change; moved to weaken the Clean Power Plan; and weakened methane pollution rules, among other actions.
  • Maintain our commitment to conservation based on sound science. The Trump administration has not only stalled scientific progress on biodiversity conservation, it has also undermined science-based decision-making throughout federal departments and agencies, with grave implications for the health and safety of all species, including humans. This administration is erasing science, systematically banning scientific language in government documents, ignoring scientific facts in its decision-making, rescinding America’s high-priority, international, science-based commitments and attacking core environmental policies that do not align with the president’s agenda. The Trump administration has made unprecedented efforts to sideline or outright disband federal science advisory committees, which provide invaluable, objective advice to federal agencies and decision-makers responsible for resolving complex management challenges, ranging from environmental to medical crises.

Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With over 1.8 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter @Defenders.

Media Contact

Gwen Dobbs
Gwen Dobbs
Director of Media Relations
(202) 772-0269


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