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Congressional Western Caucus Attacks the Endangered Species Act

July 18, 2018
Taylor Jones, (720) 443-2615, tjones@wildearthguardians.org
In This Release
Washington, DC—Republicans in Congress are once again attacking the Endangered Species Act (ESA), this time with a package of nine damaging bills introduced by members of the Congressional Western Caucus on July 12, 2018. Taken together, the bills would essentially gut the ESA by, among other things, undermining the use of sound science in agency decision-making, allowing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to unilaterally “discharge” listing petitions, and giving undue influence over species’ fates to the states, which are often opposed to endangered species protections.

“These so-called conservatives are not interested in conserving anything except the profits of the industries they are beholden to,” said Taylor Jones, endangered species advocate for WildEarth Guardians. “This proposed ‘modernization’ of the Endangered Species Act is a transparent attempt to strip protections from vulnerable species for the benefit of extractive industries like oil and gas.”

Protection under the ESA is an effective safety net for imperiled species: more than 99 percent of plants and animals protected by the law exist today. The law is especially important as a defense against the current extinction crisis; species are disappearing at a rate much higher than the natural rate of extinction due to human activities. Scientists estimate that 227 species would have gone extinct by 2006 if not for ESA protections. The ESA is a wildly successful and popular law, which has nonetheless been under constant attack by House Republicans. Guardians strongly opposes all attempts to weaken this landmark conservation law and rob future generations of their natural heritage.