Stop the attack on the Endangered Species Act
The United States is a worldwide model of stopping human-caused extinction due largely to the Endangered Species Act. The Act passed Congress with overwhelming and bipartisan support and was signed by President Richard Nixon in December of 1973.
In the four decades it has been law, it has enabled the United States to prevent the extinctions of some of the world’s most iconic and cherished species. It brought back the bald eagle, grizzly bear, gray wolf, humpback whale, and American alligator. Its protections enabled the recovery of these and more than 200 other species.
Yet, despite its success, in the last Congress, wildlife opponents introduced more than 130 bills to weaken the Endangered Species Act, including a bill by Senator Barrasso that would delist gray wolves in the Great Lakes and Wyoming. And the attacks are only increasing. Senator Barrasso started this session of Congress with a hearing to bash the Endangered Species Act.
Few laws can claim the success rate or wide popular support that the Endangered Species Act can. Recent national polling found 90 percent support for the Act among American voters. Another poll conducted after the 2016 election found that 70 percent of American voters oppose any attempts by Congress to slash or deny protections for wolves, greater sage grouse, or other at-risk wildlife. That poll found that opposition to congressional elimination or denial of Endangered Species Act protections is a bipartisan sentiment. Eighty-one percent of Clinton voters opposed such congressional actions along with 55 percent of Trump voters.
Americans want Congress to stay out of listing decisions. Yet, Congress continues to attack the Act – often using completely misleading terms. Some in Congress have announced plans to “modernize” or “reform” the Act. These are just euphemisms for weakening the Act. This law has successfully saved species for four decades. Legislative changes to the Act from this Congress are not needed for the purpose of preventing extinction.
Just last month, we saw evidence that grassroots pressure can stop Republicans in Congress from attacking wildlife and public lands. In the face of a massive backlash from the public and his constituents, Rep. Jason Chaffetz withdrew legislation that would have sold off 3.3 million acres of public land. Now we need to generate the same level of opposition to recent congressional attacks on the Endangered Species Act.
Tell your member of Congress to vote NO on any bills or measures that target the Endangered Species Act.