As Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), who also serves as chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, continues to intensify his efforts to push forward a bill to rewrite The Endangered Species Act (ESA), Defenders Of Wildlife is imploring people to reach out to their senators and voice their strong opposition to the dangerous measure.
Under the guise of “modernization,” the organization believes that the rewriting of the popular landmark legislation “would open the door to harmful provisions that could undermine the law, strip it of its effectiveness and compromise the role of science in the protection of endangered species.”
According to the Center for Biological Diversity, “Barrasso’s anticipated rewrite would effectively be putting more wildlife management power into state hands which would undo much of the progress that has been made in recovering endangered species.”
Although most states have laws to protect endangered species, the Center for Biological Diversity explained in its release that in the vast majority of cases, like in Barrasso’s own Wyoming, these laws do not have to protect critical habitat that endangered species need to survive, rendering them ineffective.
Most states also have extremely limited programs for monitoring or carrying out conservation actions for endangered species, and to the extent that they do, they are largely funded by federal dollars.
“Senator Barrasso’s talk about modernizing the Endangered Species Act is just a smokescreen for a vicious attack on this vital conservation law,” said Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “These perennial assaults on the Act are completely out of step with the overwhelming majority of voters. Most Americans support protections for endangered species because they know the law has saved amazing animals like the humpback whale and bald eagle.”
Defenders Of Wildlife echoed that sentiment in its recent call to action stating that “we cannot let the last line of defense against extinction for the gray wolf, the North Atlantic right whale, the Florida panther and so many more be eviscerated.”
“False claims about the Endangered Species Act’s effectiveness denigrate underfunded scientists trying to save imperiled wildlife on a shoestring,” Hartl continued in the Biological Diversity release. “Rather than continuing these mean-spirited and disingenuous attacks, Senator Barrasso and other Senate Republicans should fully fund the Act so more species can be saved from extinction.”
Lack of funding for endangered species recovery is a severe problem with many species receiving less than $10,000 each year for their conservation.
Congress has launched more than 256 legislative assaults against the Act since 2011, including 24 attacks in the first month of the 115th Congress.
“Given the current hostility in Congress directed at our nation’s wildlife, any attempts to open the ESA legislatively would place this successful law at risk of being severely weakened, if not completely obliterated,” Defenders of Wildlife stressed. “These ‘reform’ efforts are not a reflection of the will of the American people who support the ESA and want the recovery of our most imperiled species to be left to scientists – not politicians.
One thing we can all agree on is that something has to change. But it is not the Endangered Species Act!
WAN encourages everyone to do what they can to help prevent a destructive rewrite to the current and desperately needed Endangered Species Act.
The Defenders of Wildlife’s call to action and sample letter that people can personalize and send to their local senators can be found Here!
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