Barrasso Discussion Draft Politicizes Science, Would Limit Protections for Imperiled Wildlife
Washington, DC – Today Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) introduced a discussion draft that would undermine one of America’s bedrock wildlife conservation laws, the Endangered Species Act. While the Act requires the best available science to be used in wildlife protection decisions, Senator Barrasso’s discussion draft would subject wildlife protection decisions to political interference.
“Senator Barrasso’s discussion draft proposes that we go back in time and reverse the incredible successes that we’ve had as a nation protecting animals and plants, and ultimately ourselves,” said Leda Huta, Executive Director of the Endangered Species Coalition. “Why on earth would we do that—especially now that we have an even better understanding of how healthy plant and animal populations give us clean water and clean air? Let’s do more to give our children and grandchildren a clean and healthy planet, not less.”
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.
Photo credit Flickr user Gage Skidmore.