Upholding science-based risk assessment under a weakened Endangered Species Act

An editorial in Facets of 10 December 2020 by Nicolas J. Muñoz and Debora S. Obrist entitled “Upholding science-based risk assessment under a weakened Endangered Species Act” points to the dangers inherent in the amendments to the Ontario Endangered Species Act (OESA):


From the Conclusion:

There is overwhelming scientific evidence indicating that devaluing intra-regional status in favour of extra-regional status would undermine OESA’s goal of biological conservation. COSSARO’s mandate to identify species at risk based on the best available science should compel COSSARO to ensure that the implementation of the new clauses in OESA does not lead to the de facto preclusion of peripheral populations from listing. To that end, “biologically relevant geographic range” should be interpreted as the range that is relevant to species’ subpopulations in Ontario. This interpretation would avoid the scientific issues inherent in considering a range that is relevant to the entire species (e.g., Earl et al. 2018) while recognizing that extirpation from Ontario can have global consequences for many species. This interpretation could also avoid any litigation that might arise from scientifically flawed interpretations of this phrase, as occurred with a similar phrase in the U.S. Endangered Species Act (Wilhere 2017). Indeed, legal experts should be consulted to inform the validity of possible interpretations of the new clauses in OESA.

See also an article by Emma McIntosh in the National Observer of 28 December 2020: