Washington, DC — In response to today’s release by the Sec. Ryan Zinke’s Department of Interior of draft regulations to weaken protections for America’s most at-risk fish, plants and wildlife, the Endangered Species Coalition released the following statement from Program Director Tara Thornton:
“Under the guise of “reform,” we are seeing a full-on assault on imperiled wildlife and the Endangered Species Act. From these Trump-Zinke administrative regulations, to a Rep. Rob Bishop-led barrage of bills in the House, to a draft bill to undermine the Act by Senator Barrasso in the Senate, this is all part and parcel of the Trump administration’s industry and polluter-friendly deregulatory agenda.
The Endangered Species Act is our nation’s most effective law for protecting wildlife in danger of extinction, and has prevented more than 99 percent of listed species from going extinct. The Endangered Species Act already allows for flexibility in protecting endangered wildlife and requires that federal agencies work together with state, tribal and local officials work to prevent extinction. We know that strong majorities, across the political spectrum, support the Endangered Species Act and want wildlife decisions to be made by biologists and wildlife professionals, not politicians in Congress. (2015 Tulchin poll)
Rather than making detrimental changes to a law that works, Congress and the Administration should improve the law’s implementation by fully funding recovery efforts for endangered species.”
Although some members of Congress have been seeking to weaken the Act, public opinion research indicates that the law continues to maintain broad, bipartisan, public support. A 2015 poll conducted by Tulchin Research found that 90 percent of American voters across all political, regional and demographic lines support the Endangered Species Act.
The Endangered Species Act was a landmark conservation law that passed with overwhelming bipartisan support: 92-0 in the Senate, and 394-4 in the House. In 2017, more than 400 organizations signed a letter to members of Congress opposing efforts to weaken the Endangered Species Act, noting the law has a 99 percent success rate, including some of the country’s most exciting wildlife recoveries, like the bald eagles, humpback whales, American alligators, Channel Island foxes, Tennessee purple coneflowers, and more.
Scientific consensus indicates that we are in the sixth wave of extinction. The main tool in the United States to battle this human-caused crisis is the Endangered Species Act, which has been very effective in keeping species from sliding into extinction.