For Immediate Release: July 6, 2017
Endangered Species Coalition contacts: Leda Huta (National) [email protected], (202) 320-6467; Aaron Tam (Pacific NW) [email protected]; Hailey Hawkins (S. Rockies) [email protected], (662) 251-5804; Melissa Smith (Midwest) [email protected], (608) 234-8860; Tara Thornton (New England) [email protected], (207) 504-2705; Derek Goldman, (N. Rockies) [email protected], (406) 721-3218.
Showing Overwhelming Support for the Endangered Species Act, More Than 400 Conservation Groups Sign Letter Opposing Efforts to Weaken Wildlife Law
Washington, DC – Four hundred and twenty-five national, state, and local conservation groups sent a letter to the Senate and House leadership Thursday demonstrating their overwhelming support for the Endangered Species Act. Referencing the “unprecedented threat” faced by the Act in Congress, the groups strongly opposed any weakening of the Act under the guise of efforts to “modernize” or “reform” the Act. The groups—at least one from each of the 50 states—indicated that any “efforts to rewrite this law would prove disastrous for imperiled wildlife and should be strongly opposed.”
“Americans know that we have a responsibility to our kids, grandkids and great-grandkids to protect endangered species and the places they call home. They know the Endangered Species Act works, and they are incredibly worried that politicians in Congress are seeking to undermine this safety net for plants and wildlife on the brink of extinction,” stated Leda Huta, Executive Director of the Endangered Species Coalition.
Led by the Endangered Species Coalition, the letter included many of the country’s largest conservation groups, including Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, Earthjustice, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, and We Act for Environmental Justice. The call to protect the nation’s rich biodiversity of plants and animals for future generations included hundreds of state and local conservation groups from every state.
Today’s letter cites the Act’s reliance on science, its provisions for citizen engagement, and its popularity with Americans across the political spectrum. Although some members of Congress are now 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 jurisdictions 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. And the letter highlights its 99 percent success rate, noting some of the country’s most exciting wildlife recoveries, including bald eagles, humpback whales, American alligators, Channel Island foxes, Tennessee purple coneflowers, and more.
“Not only is the Endangered Species Act our safety net for wildlife, plants, and fish, but it can also protect species critical to human health and wellbeing, such as bees and other pollinators,” said Huta. “Furthermore, the Act’s protection of biodiversity is critical for vulnerable communities which are often on the frontlines of environmental destruction and have the most to lose.”
The groups called on legislators to “support the Endangered Species Act and oppose any bill, rider, or other policy proposal that weakens protections for endangered species and habitat.” Instead, the letter noted the decrease in funding of the Endangered Species Act since 2010 and called on legislators to “seek full funding and comprehensive implementation of the Act.”