The Endangered Species Act Is Threatened By 5 New U.S. Bills
The House Natural Resources Committee, led by Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), will hold a hearing today on five separate bills that would substantially weaken the Endangered Species Act.
This marks the first legislative hearing of the current Congress to discuss the Endangered Species Act.
As noted in a Center For Biological Diversity Press Release, last December Bishop stated that his goal was to repeal the Act in its entirety.
“If these dangerous bills are enacted, hundreds of plants and animals will be put on a fast track to extinction,” said Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “These efforts to gut and repeal the Endangered Species Act are deeply unpopular with the American people who recognize that this incredibly successful law saved the bald eagle, humpback whale, American alligator and many more species from being lost forever.”
Republicans will consider the following bills:
• H.R. 717 by Rep. Pete Olson (R-Texas) would require consideration of the economic costs of protecting an animal or plant on the endangered species list, and removes deadlines for completing the listing process.
• H.R. 1274 by Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.) would automatically deem any information submitted by a state or local government to be the “best available” science even if such information were contradictory, out-of-date or fraudulent, weakening the listing process for endangered species.
• H.R. 3131 by Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Mich.) would hamper citizen enforcement and participation in the implementation of the Act’s provisions. Undercutting the ability of citizens to bring lawsuits would make the agency more prone to improperly consider politics in its listing decisions and prevent imperiled species from receiving protections in a timely manner.
• H.R. 2603 by Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) attempts to limit the Endangered Species Act’s provisions for exotic game species that have been imported into the United States for trophy hunting. If taken literally, this legislation would remove the need for conservation permits of exotic game species, eliminating a critical funding source for the overseas conservation of those very species.
• H.R. 424 by Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) would reinstate a 2011 decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remove federal protections for gray wolves in the western Great Lakes states. In 2014 a federal judge found numerous scientific and legal deficiencies with that 2011 decision and brought back protections for gray wolves. The legislation would invalidate the court opinion and preclude all judicial review into the future.
Congressional Republicans have launched 34 legislative attacks against the Endangered Species Act or particular endangered species so far this year. Since the Republican takeover of the House of Representatives in 2011, more than 271 attacks have been instigated.
These attacks continue despite the fact that 9 out of 10 Americans support the Endangered Species Act and want it either strengthened or left unchanged by Congress, according to a 2015 poll.
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