>> The fate of the northern spotted owl could hang on a controversial conservation proposal under consideration by the Trump administration. The plan would like cash drop agencies prioritize certain endangered species over others. Using a mathematical formula that diverts money away from expensive, hard to save species, and toward plants and animals that can be more easily preserved.
And that's bad news for this bird, a species some see as an over funded failure. Reuters correspondent Sharon Bernstein visited the California Redwoods, where the endangered owls numbers are dwindling.>> These are the misty woods that are the home of the northern spotted owls. Species that has come to symbolize the successes, the failures, the expense and the controversy over the US Endangered Species Act.
The land where we are right now is also owned by the Green Diamond Resource Company, a timber company. That since the owls was listed has had to vastly change the way it does business.>> Government restrictions on logging to save the threatened owl are costing the state roughly 50000 jobs.
Millions of dollars have also been spent to preserve its existence. The new proposal as viewed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service Would act as a sort of conservation triage. Saving the lives of some 200 additional species but at the expense of the owl. Other animals that could lose protection includes the Florida scrub-jay, California marbled murrelet and Texas' golden-cheeked warbler.
A similar approach has been adopted in New Zealand and Australia. But some American conservation groups such as the National Resources Defense Council are appalled by the approach. The Endangered Species Act does not allow the government to choose which animals and plants become extinct but funding one species over another could let some decline or die out.
The proposal comes at a time when the Trump administration is seeking to cut billions of dollars from the budgets of the Environmental Protection Agency. And the Department of the Interior which oversees the fish and wildlife service. That service which still does not have a director under President Trump declined to comment.