Seventeen states are suing to block Trump administration rules weakening the Endangered Species Act.
The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in federal court in San Francisco, follows a similar challenge filed last month by several environmental groups, including the Humane Society and the Sierra Club.
The new rules begin taking effect Thursday. They for the first time allow officials to consider how much it would cost to save a species. They also remove blanket protections for animals newly listed as threatened and make it easier for creatures to be removed from the protected list.
The administration and congressional Republicans have said the changes improve the law. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said they ease “the regulatory burden on the American public” without sacrificing conservation goals.
Democratic Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson called it “death by a thousand cuts” for the law.
GENE JOHNSON Associated Press