Today, leaders in the U.S House and Senate introduced bills to block the Trump Administration’s recent rules weakening the Endangered Species Act – our most effective law for protecting wildlife in danger of extinction. The bill. H.R. 4348, is called the ‘‘Protect America’s Wildlife and Fish in Need of Conservation Act of 2019’’ or the ‘PAW and FIN Conservation Act of 2019 (H.R. 4348)’’ (House cosponsors and Senate cosponsors). Here is our statement supporting these critical efforts by Congressional leaders:
“The ‘Trump Extinction Plan’ issued last month makes it harder to protect our nation’s imperiled wildlife, such as the monarch butterfly, sea turtles, and wolverines,” said Leda Huta, Executive Director of the Endangered Species Coalition. “We know Americans strongly support wildlife and the Endangered Species Act, and we are heartened to see that support reflected in the bills introduced today by Representative Grijalva and Senator Udall and co-sponsored by 29 additional Members of Congress.”
On August 27th, the Trump Administration published its final Endangered Species Act regulations, which have been widely condemned by conservationists and scientists in the United States. Approved by embattled Secretary of Interior David Bernhardt, these regulations will have real-world negative impacts for the country’s most imperiled plants and wildlife, such as the monarch butterfly, sea turtles, manatees, wolverines, and hundreds more.
The new regulations will make it more difficult to protect wildlife, fish and plants on the brink of extinction, while weakening critical habitat protections for species designated as “threatened.” The regulations were finalized despite the overwhelming opposition of American citizens–more than 866,000 submitted comments opposing the new regulations. A decade of polling has consistently shown that the American public strongly supports the Endangered Species Act–90 percent in the most recent poll. And in 2017, more than 420 conservation organizations signed a letter to Congress opposing any weakening of the Endangered Species Act.
The Act has a 99% success rate. Species such as bald eagles, American alligator, humpback whale, Santa Cruz island fox, Tennessee purple coneflower and many more have recovered thanks to the Act. Hundreds more species have seen an incredible resurgence including the grey wolf, Grizzly bear, black-footed ferret, and Whooping crane.
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.