Chasing Presidents Questions to Candidates

On behalf of the Animal Welfare Institute, California Native Plant Society, Center for Biological Diversity, Christian Coalition of Delmarva, Endangered Small Animal Conservation Fund, Friends of Blackwater, International Fund for Animal Welfare, Native Plant Conservation Campaign, NY4WHALES, Oceanic Preservation Society, Turtle Island Restoration Network, Western Watersheds Project, WildEarth Guardians and the Endangered Species Coalition, please ask the candidate to answer the following questions and send the responses to Corry Westbrook at [email protected]

Please keep each response to 250 words or less. 

We are sending these questions to every candidate for US President regardless of party. We do not endorse any candidates. We will inform our memberships and public of your responses by posting them online. Please submit your responses by January 31, 2020. 

If you have any questions, please contact Corry Westbrook, Endangered Species Coalition, 202-841-6371 or [email protected] 

Thank you! 

1. According to the 2019 Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) biodiversity report, one million species are at risk of extinction over the next few decades. The loss of biodiversity through extinction impacts employment, tourism, food production, the economy, vital food webs, and the spread of disease. Ultimately, the loss of biodiversity threatens our own survival as a species. As president, what will you do to protect imperiled species from extinction?

2. The Endangered Species Act is the world’s most effective conservation law for averting extinction. However, the law has recently been weakened in an unprecedented manner by new USFWS promulgated rules. If elected, will you commit to reversing this damage and protecting the law’s mandate to ensure conservation and recovery of imperiled species?

3. Endangered Species Act implementation and enforcement by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been severely underfunded for decades, resulting in neglect of species recovery and habitat protection. If elected president, would you advocate for robust funding for ESA implementation? 

4. As president, will you help change the norms around how value is assigned to wildlife and plants within federal agencies and on public lands, which dictates how or if species are managed and protected? Will you advocate for an increased focus on providing protection to non-game species due to their intrinsic value and contributions to ecosystem services?

5. Habitat loss caused by fragmentation, pollution, and development is a leading driver of wildlife population declines across the country. Please explain how, if elected, you will protect habitat for plants and animals in the United States, including enhancing habitat connectivity? 

6. Please explain why wild animals and plants are important to you. 

7. Healthy, biodiverse ecosystems are important for climate resilience. They help to mitigate the impacts of natural disasters and other consequences of climate change. If elected president, what will you do to address the effects of climate change on wildlife, plants and habitats and how will you build protection for wildlife and habitats into climate change response plans?

8. Under the Endangered Species Act, all decisions regarding listing and recovery plans must be based solely on the best available scientific and commercial information, excluding political interference from decision-making. Notwithstanding this unambiguous legal directive, legislation or administrative rulemakings are frequently advanced blocking listings for otherwise-qualified species or attempting to introduce economic outcomes as a criterion for withholding protections. As president, what will you do to ensure that science, and only science, dictates the outcomes of Endangered Species Act decisions?

See responses from the candidates here.

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