Photo: Charlie Neibergall (AP)

Every now and then in the hellacious 24-hour news cycle that is the Trump presidency, there comes a story that is so absurd and yet utterly predictable it kinda stops me in my tracks. This is one of those stories.

Per the New York Times:

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration on Monday announced that it would change the way the Endangered Species Act is applied, significantly weakening the nation’s bedrock conservation law credited with rescuing the bald eagle, the grizzly bear and the American alligator from extinction.

A buh... wha. The bald eagle. Man. The bald eagle!! The Times’ story continues:

The changes will make it harder to consider the effects of climate change on wildlife when deciding whether a given species warrants protection. They would most likely shrink critical habitats and, for the first time, would allow economic assessments to be conducted when making determinations.

The rules also make it easier to remove a species from the endangered species list and weaken protections for threatened species, a designation that means they are at risk of becoming endangered.

Overall, the new rules would very likely clear the way for new mining, oil and gas drilling, and development in areas where protected species live.

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I just... man. The eagles! He’s fucking with the eagles!

This would be laughably sinister if not for the context of Trump’s larger broadside attacks on the environment, among them: weighing plans to sell off bits of Florida for offshore drilling, the continuing mess resulting from Trump handing over the Interior Department to oil and gas interests, and complete inaction on climate change.

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I drove across the country recently, and there was this one moment going through Utah when I looked out the car window and saw this massive bird, just this gigantic thing with a wingspan nearly the width of the car I was in, just circling around above a canyon about a hundred yards away from the highway. It was probably some type of condor, which have been clawing their way back from the brink of extinction for decades, but at the time, I wasn’t thinking about that, it was just a really wonderful sight. Where else can you see something like that? If this administration has anything to say about it, not here.