Five House Bills Jeopardize Protection for Endangered Species

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On July 19, the House Committee on Natural Resources convenes legislative hearings on five bills that, if passed, threaten to erode protective measures for vulnerable wildlife under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by undermining the scientific basis of the ESA or adding unnecessary burdens to the review process.

Because it is based on sound science and preserves plants, animals, and the ecosystems they depend on, the ESA is perhaps the most powerful environmental legislation ever passed in the United States. In fact, 99% of species protected under the Act have avoided extinction, including the bald eagle, peregrine falcon, and the California condor.

 H.R. 424: Gray Wolf State Management Act of 2017.  Completely strips protective status for gray wolf populations in the Western Great Lakes Region, establishing a troubling precedent for gray wolf populations everywhere, including California.

H.R. 717: Listing Reform Act.  Requires review of the economic burdens of protecting species through listing, undermining Section 4 requirements, that only the best available science be considered; removes mandatory deadlines for listing decisions.

H.R. 1274: State, Tribal, and Local Species Transparency and Recovery Act.  Undercuts the best available science mandate by treating tribal, state and county data as “best available science” to determine a species listing, even if it is not.

H.R. 2603: Saving America’s Endangered Species Act. Strips all protections afforded to non-native species. The ESA bans the import and sale of all endangered and threatened species in the U.S. (with exceptions for scientific and captive breeding).  Listing non-native species is important because the U.S. is a significant market for illegal wildlife trade.  Without ESA roadblocks, many species around the world would be significantly more vulnerable than they currently are. For example, the Military Macaw (listed in 2015), is native to parts of Mexico and Central and South America, where its populations are plummeting in large part due to the exotic pet trade in the U.S. and elsewhere.

H.R. 3131: Endangered Species Litigation Reasonableness Act. Limits attorney’s fees for successful citizen plaintiffs who help protect wildlife by enforcing the requirements of the ESA.

What You Can Do

Take action now to ensure that ESA protection for the wildlife you care about remains intact!  The following California representatives serve on the House Natural Resources Committee and are influential in determining outcomes of the hearings on July 19. Please contact your representative today and strongly encourage him/her to oppose these five harmful bills that threaten wildlife protected under the ESA.   If you do not live in one of these districts, I implore you to share this message and encourage your family and friends to contact their representatives.

The Endangered Species Act of 1973 is one of the most effective environmental laws in the world. Passed with overwhelming bipartisan support, it represents a commitment by the American people to work together to protect those species on the brink of extinction.

Thank you for acting on behalf of the world’s most successful law protecting vulnerable wildlife, plants and critical habitat.  Your voice speaks volumes for those who cannot speak for themselves.

Sincerely,

FULL NAME BLUE

Cheryl M. McCormick, Ph.D.
Executive Director
Lindsay Wildlife Experience

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