Oct 11

To Kill a Mouse: Congress Quietly Increases Attacks on Endangered Species Act by 600%

By Taylor Parker, contributing writer to Endangered Species Coalition.

Congressman Steve Pearce introduced a 200-page bill over a mouse. Representative Pearce said he is trying to bring jobs to his district by stripping the New Mexican Meadow jumping mouse of protections. He is trying to sneak his bill in as a rider to H.R. 5538, a bill meant for funding the Department of the Interior. Rep. Jim Bridenstine of Oklahoma has a bill to ban listing of the Lesser Prairie Chicken, Rep. Glenn Thompson of Pennsylvania wants to reduce protections for the Northern Long-eared Bat, and Rep. Dan Newhouse of Washington has a bill to delist wolves. In fact, instead of actually focusing on building jobs or fixing infrastructure problems in their respective states, all of the authors of the 142 bills and riders harm, or strip protections from America’s wildlife in the 114th Congress.

In the last 5 years there has been a 600% increase on attacks on the Endangered Species Act. According to the Center for Biological Diversity’s research earlier this year, the 114th Congress has “dramatically increased its efforts to take away protections for species, and has set a record-breaking 87 attacks in 2015…and 42 attacks since 2016 started.” Between 1996 and 2011 there were approximately 70 attacks.  Yet, from 2011 to 2016, there have been  227 attacks, more than 3 times the attacks in 5 years than seen in the previous 15.  It’s scary and somewhat unbelievable– rare species in the US have never faced this kind of pressure legislatively.

NM Meadow Jumping Mouse. Photo credit USFWS.

NM Meadow Jumping Mouse. Photo credit USFWS.

In fact, according to the Center for American Progress, “every 2.5 minutes, the American West loses a football field worth of natural area to human development.” While this 600% increase of ESA attacks is occurring, the New Mexico Meadow Jumping Mouse, Prairie Chickens, bats, wolves, and approximately two thousand other species in the United States are threatened with more development and serious pressures. Trying to carve out their existence in a continuously encroached upon land, these species don’t need our representatives mounting the unprecedented attack that they are, for the interests that they are, while ignoring critical discussions needed in Congress right now. One of the arguments you always hear is that environmental issues get in the way of progress and jobs. However, the current blockade toward progress is not the rare species that deserve protection but a wasted misdirection of valuable congressional time and energy.

Instead of valuing our country’s heritage of unique wildlife and wildlands for the genetic, ecological, and American treasures that they are, this Congress is threatening that heritage. Instead of focusing on protecting the open spaces that we still have, this Congress is trying to dismember one of the only Federal laws protecting our national heritages. Instead of focusing on other important issues such as veteran affairs, education, infrastructure, and child nutrition this Congress is spending an inordinate amount of time working backwards, attacking species that once gone are gone forever.

The New Mexico Meadow Jumping Mouse is so rare that it is listed as Endangered wherever it is found. It is only found in about 8 populations on this planet, all within Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico. About 10 inches long, it is nocturnal, and can jump up to 6 feet in the air. Their young are born defenseless, blind, and deaf. Ecologically, they eat whatever they can find in the harsh environments they live and they provide an important food source for the foxes, owls, hawks, and snakes. Habitat destruction is its main threat.

If Congressman Steve Pearce succeeds, the New Mexico Meadow Jumping Mouse will have nothing protecting it from habitat loss. Losing the protection it has under the Endangered Species Act could send the species down a perilous path toward extinction. The same could happen to the prairie chickens, the sea otters, the salmon, and all of the other species affected by a 600% increase in Endangered Species Act attacks pushed by this Congress. Our country’s living heritage deserves better and we as voters, citizens, and as a species deserve the respect of responsible representatives of our interests – not myopic and temporary business interests.

55 Comments on To Kill a Mouse: Congress Quietly Increases Attacks on Endangered Species Act by 600%

  1. sharon says:

    Do you plan to be a strong champion of the Endangered Species Act if you’re elected? If so what actions would you take to support the Act?

  2. Cheryl L. Robison says:

    You should be ashamed of your greed and short-sightedness. Strengthen the protective acts: Do not weaken them or leave off species!

  3. Wilma Dull says:

    The environment and every living thing that inhabits it is an interdependent whole. Protecting one element in the in this natural system is critical to protecting all the rest, and it works both ways. Protect species to preserve habitat, and vice-versa, and we, by the way, are also part of this. Why much of Congress seems not to understand this, or chooses not to, is attributable only either to ignorance or greed.

  4. Selma Cooper says:

    If we do not care for the listed endangered species, we may very well be the last on the list! – and who will save us?

    • april doyle says:

      I don’t think this is right. animals are living breathing beings too who have just as much right to be on this earth as we do. they don’t deserve to be treated like trash. just because they are not humans doesn’t mean they should be considered less than we are. they are special too just like people are.

  5. Anita Wisch says:

    Losing the protection animal’s have under the Endangered Species Act could send species down a perilous path toward extinction. This could happen to the prairie chickens, the sea otters, the salmon, wolves, and all of the other species affected by a 600% increase in Endangered Species Act attacks pushed by this Congress. Our country’s living heritage deserves better and we as voters, citizens, and as a species deserve the respect of responsible representatives of our interests – not myopic and temporary business interests.

  6. Julie Pierson says:

    The ESA was signed into law by President Richard Nixon on December 28, 1973, it was designed to protect critically imperiled species from extinction as a “consequence of economic growth and development untempered by adequate concern and conservation.” The U.S. Supreme Court found that “the plain intent of Congress in enacting” the ESA “was to halt and reverse the trend toward species extinction, whatever the cost.
    Does this need to be repeated to our Congress?
    Stop this war on nature!

  7. Walt Brown says:

    Do not tamper with the Endangered Species Act!!

    It — along with Title IX and other adjustment from the ’70s — is the foundation of America today and a healthy American future.

  8. Paul Crouser says:

    The American people are clear on their desire to professionally manage our wild areas, including its wildlife. The will of the people will prevail over the narrow self interest of a few selfish men.

  9. Michael Ames says:

    Stop endangering endangered species. I wish the people that hurt animals or who take away their habitat were endangered. Or, better yet, extinct.

    • I agree 100%. It seems like every day i hear of more animal killings. If we continue the way we are going we will end up wiping out all the animals and will never recover. Animals are part of the system of things. We need them to help keep our planet livable and just for the pure joy they give us.

    • Carol L..Gloor says:

      We are all part of the earth: humans, animals, growing things. It’s our only home. Please stop killing it.

  10. ai says:

    this is not a dress rehearsal, we all get one chance @ making this planet the great for all us living,great & small, meek & mighty!….so easy to do the wrong thing!.
    “TAKE THE PATH LESS TRAVELED”……………ALL ANIMALS/MAMMALS WILL THANK YOU!!

  11. God gave us humans the privilege and responsibility of being good stewards of this earth, and to preserve and protect this garden we share with other precious beings He created. HUMANS were created in His image to be His heart and hands to others…. PLEASE continue to strengthen and support the efforts and legislation of those of us who understand, and want to do exactly that !!!!!

  12. Michelle Graham says:

    Instead of focusing on other important issues such as veteran affairs, education, infrastructure, and child nutrition this Congress is spending an inordinate amount of time working backwards, attacking species that once gone are gone forever.

  13. ai says:

    we are all animals/mammals, humans are not exempt from the extinction process if this continues. hears the real frustrating part of this comment, we/us can & should change this out come, because there is a “point of no return”, this is not a dress rehearsal!?

  14. Natalie Jarnstedt says:

    No more killing, please!
    Is this all that Congress is capable of dealing with instead of concentrating on real issues that affect the American people?
    Fooling with Mother Nature, disrupting the ecological balance, has serious consequences on all other species – do not undermine the Protected Species Act!
    Instead, get to work on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, Tax reform, infrastructure, and insist on getting work done on all the bills that are not being brought up for a vote!

  15. ahimsa42 says:

    “Aren’t humans amazing? They kill wildlife – birds, deer, all kinds of cats, coyotes, beavers, groundhogs, mice and foxes by the million in order to protect their domestic animals and their feed. Then they kill domestic animals by the billion and eat them. This in turn kills people by the million, because eating all those animals leads to degenerative – and fatal – health conditions like heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and cancer. So then humans spend billions of dollars torturing and killing millions more animals to look for cures for these diseases. Elsewhere, millions of other human beings are being killed by hunger and malnutrition because food they could eat is being used to fatten domestic animals. Meanwhile, few people recognize the absurdity of humans, who kill so easily and violently, and once a year send out cards praying for “Peace on Earth.”~ David Coates

    cowspiracy.com/

  16. Julia Poirier says:

    All species have a function in the enormously complex ecosystem that is our planet. We have a grave responsibility to tend our planet garden with care and respect for all beings. Endangered species laws must be kept strong; don’t allow a few members of the human species to spoil the world for the rest of us.

  17. John Eckler says:

    I do not understand people that would sacrifice living entities, trees, and flowers for a hand full of cash. But let’s face it, these same elected officials are already dead inside and do not care for their own lives, their children’s lives, or our lives. So what do we expect.

  18. Patricia Rudner says:

    Endangered species are the canary in our world, harm done to them is perilous to our own survival as a species. Protect all endangered species.

  19. Dawn Rutigliano says:

    Please do not just consider profits from big business, please consider the wildlife and the habitats they live in. Please continue the protections of the Endangered Species Act. Thank-you

  20. VICKI says:

    THIS CONDEMNING, ABUSING AND KILLING FOR NO REASON, HAS TO STOP!
    WE NEED TO SAVE OUR WILDLIFE AND HABITATS. THEY ALL DESERVE TO LIVE IN PEACE IN THEIR OWN WORLD, AND WE NEED TO STAY IN OURS AND STOP DESTROYING THIS PLANET!!!

  21. Jawara D Pittman says:

    We need the ESA, do not weaken and destroy it. The generations that come after us. They will hate us for not only destroying it. But also not doing enough.

  22. Sharon Smead says:

    When we continue to tip the scales, there will be no hope to regain the earth’s balance. This includes all endangered species. Please strengthen laws protecting endangered species now!

  23. Support these endangered species! Yes, even a mouse is important to our eco -system! Wolves are necessary as well and pose ZERO threat to domestic cattle and other species. Stop enabling big business to destroy our precious earth!

    • Jawara D Pittman says:

      With the kind of people we have in Congress. Plus, the don’t give a damn lobbyists with their influences and money. Saving it has to be the priority for now.

      Just maybe, with the right people in Congress. It can be strengthened.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *