Anti-Wildlife Politicians Attack Protections Of The Endangered Species Act At The 50th Committee Hearing

This week, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Wildlife and Fisheries held a hearing stacked with anti-wildlife politicians making baseless claims attacking the landmark Endangered Species Act, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

“Today’s farce of a hearing is exactly why listing decisions and the implementation of the Endangered Species Act should be governed by the best available science and experts at the Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service,” said Mary Beth Beetham, legislative director for Defenders of Wildlife. “Anti-wildlife politicians who are dead set on ignoring the facts and near-perfect track record of the Endangered Species Act will only fast-track the extinction process for our nation’s imperiled wildlife. Scientists, not politicians, should be the voice of reason in this increasingly, troubling debate.”

In just the last week alone Congressional attacks on our nation’s imperiled wildlife has included proposals for: 

  • Slashing FWS funding by $236 million below FY 23 levels.

  • Preventing ESA protections for the greater sage grouse.

  • Removing ESA protections for the gray wolf.  

  • Blocking reintroduction of the grizzly bear into the North Cascades.

  • Blocking northern long-eared bat from being listed as endangered instead of threatened.  

  • Blocking funding to implement ESA protections for the lesser prairie chicken.

  • Finalizing a flawed 2021 proposed rule that exempts the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management from essential consultations with expert wildlife agencies even where new information demonstrates harm to listed species and critical habitat.

  • Exempting the Department of Defense from complying with the Endangered Species Act.

“If members of Congress want to attack and undermine the Endangered Species Act, they should make it a fair fight and first consider fully funding the law instead of giving it less than half of what is currently needed,” continued Beetham.

Fortunately, a number of members of the subcommittee including  Representatives Jared Huffman (D-CA), Don Beyer (D-VA), Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Ira Magaziner (D-RI),and Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) were willing to cut through all the hot air and highlight the laws considerable successes, which include recovering the American peregrine falcon and bald eagle and preventing the permanent loss of the vast majority of listed species.

“We are losing our world’s biodiversity at a rate never before seen in human history and once it’s gone there’s no getting it back,” said Beetham. “The price we will pay if we allow that to happen is far worse than taking an extra moment now and asking that we not harm our nation’s most at-risk species as habitat-altering activities occur. We appreciate those members of Congress who protect their constituents from the considerable threat of the biodiversity crisis.”

“House Republicans continued their attack on the environment by holding a shameful hearing intent on dismantling the Endangered Species Act during its 50 year anniversary,” said Leslie Williams, founder of The #RelistWolves Campaign. “If Republicans were serious about protecting our environment, they would fully fund the Endangered Species Act and let the scientists at USFWS do their job.”

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

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