Interior Department | WOSU Radio

Interior Department

In a move that critics say will hurt plants, animals and other species as they face mounting threats, the Trump administration is making major changes to how the Endangered Species Act is implemented. The U.S. Department of Interior on Monday announced a suite of long-anticipated revisions to the nation's premier wildlife conservation law, which is credited with bringing back the bald eagle and grizzly bears, among other species.

During a testy confirmation hearing on Thursday, President Donald Trump's pick to be the nation's largest land steward told senators that he would take steps to prevent conflicts of interest and to improve ethics guidelines at the Interior Department.

A former lobbyist who represented oil and gas interests, David Bernhardt has been dogged by questions about his own ethics during his short run as the Acting Interior Secretary.

Democrats and environmental groups have accused the former Deputy Interior Secretary of making policy decisions that favor former clients.

The Interior Department is abandoning a plan to more than double entrance fees to some of the country's most popular national parks, opting instead to apply a "modest" fee increase to 117 parks beginning this summer in an effort to raise funds for park maintenance.

The announcement Thursday comes after an outcry from the public and from lawmakers, who were concerned that certain large increases that were initially proposed would price people out of the nation's parks.