Press Release: Analysis for 2017: Congress Attacked Endangered Species Every Six Days

February, 2018

 

Wolves, Sage Grouse, Elephants Targeted Most


Anti-wildlife members of Congress introduced 63 separate legislative attacks on endangered species or the Endangered Species Act during 2017 — an average of one every six days, according to a new analysis by the Center for Biological Diversity.

Gray wolves, greater sage grouse and elephants were the most assailed species. Nearly every legislative assault was introduced by a Republican member of Congress.

The most recent attack came on Monday and was snuck into an emergency funding bill designed to address damage from catastrophic hurricanes and fires in 2017. Section 2029 of H.R. 4667, introduced by Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.), would exempt the Federal Emergency Management Agency from the Endangered Species Act, and would allow it to approve risky developments in flood-prone areas even if it destroys critical habitat or kills endangered species like sea turtles, Pacific salmon and Florida Key deer.

“Republicans in Congress continue to attack the Endangered Species Act despite overwhelming support from Americans of all political stripes for this landmark conservation law,” said Brett Hartl, government affairs director with the Center. “These attacks are designed to reward special interests that would plunder our natural resources even if it causes wildlife to go extinct.” 

The Endangered Species Act has been in the crosshairs since 2011, when the Republicans gained majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. Since then, nearly 300 attacks have been launched against the Act and individual species. 

Gray wolves have been a primary target. Republicans have repeatedly sought to undermine the Act’s science-based decision-making requirements by prematurely removing protections for wolves through overturning court decisions that found wolves still need protection in places like the western Great Lakes. 

The Endangered Species Act has been more than 99 percent effective at saving species under its protection from extinction and has put hundreds more on the road to recovery. According to a 2015 poll, nine out of 10 Americans support the Act and want it either strengthened or left unchanged by Congress. 

“These radical attempts to gut the Endangered Species Act are totally out of step with what the American people want,” said Hartl. “They want our government to do more to help species recover, not speed up their path to extinction.”

Contact: Brett Hartl, (202) 817-8121, bhartl@biologicaldiversity.org

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