On Tuesday, a California federal judge threw out the Trump-era changes to the landmark Endangered Species Act, which made it harder to protect wildlife from the effects of human development and climate change.
EarthJustice, the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council and other environmental groups filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration in order to get protections restored for hundreds of species.
The Trump administration made it easier to remove protections for threatened animals and plants and allowed federal agencies to conduct economic assessments when deciding whether to protect a species. Scientists used to forecast the damage from climate change.
The administration said the changes would make the law more efficient and less burdensome.
The Interior Secretary, along with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service, filed a motion in response to the environmental groups lawsuit.
The agencies asked the court to allow them to partially rewrite the regulations while keeping them in place so that they could conduct a review before taking action. Environmental groups say it could take months or years to complete.
The court said there was no reason to keep the rules that were already in place.
Judge Tigar wrote in his ruling that the rules will not remain in their current form regardless of the court's decision.
According to an attorney at Earthjustice, the court spoke for species desperately in need of comprehensive federal protections. They don't have the luxury of waiting under rules that aren't protecting them.
The bald eagle is one of the species that has been helped by the act. More than 1,600 species are protected by the legislation.
On the first day of the Biden presidency, the Center for Biological Diversity said that Trump should have taken away the protections. The Services can finally get on with their work after this court ruling.