Today, Rep. Doc Hastings released a report and set of likely-to-fail proposals to significantly weaken the Endangered Species Act. Among the proposals are some that would limit the crucial right of citizens to petition the government to protect species and others that would turn over decisions about which species are protected to individual states.
Endangered Species Coalition Executive Director Leda Huta issued the following statement:
This is just another special interest attempt to undermine the Endangered Species Act—our safety net for fish, plants and wildlife on the brink of extinction. Oil and gas companies, pesticide manufacturers, developers and other special interests are pulling their levers in Congress and trying everything they can to weaken the law that has helped prevent hundreds of species from going extinct, including the bald eagle, the gray whale and the Florida panther. We have a responsibility to stop the politicians in Washington who are now trying to weaken the Endangered Species Act. Scientists, not politicians, should make the decisions about whether and how to best protect endangered fish and wildlife. We owe it our future generations to protect endangered species and the special places they call home.
Ranking Member Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR) issued this statement:
“As with a number of issues before the committee, there’s the potential for balanced, reasonable compromises to modernize the Endangered Species Act based on the best available science. But unfortunately this Majority does not seem interested in such an approach. If this so-called report issued by a partisan task force is any indication, we will likely spend time debating legislation that will be cast as ‘common sense’ reforms, but will actually gut a law that has prevented the extinction of iconic American animals such as the bald eagle and the gray wolf. We still have a lot of work to do and there is no appetite to overturn the ESA. Because these ‘reforms’ will only appeal to the radical, tea-party wing partisans, it will go nowhere in the Senate.”