Extractive industry interests continue to wage a concerted attack on imperiled species nationwide. Right now on the federal level, there are over 24 bills that threaten the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Some seek to weaken the law itself while others target individual species like wolves, bats, lesser prairie chickens, and grizzly bears with no consideration of the best available science or public input. These politically motivated attacks must be stopped.
Here are a few examples of the most egregious bills right now:
The purpose of the ESA is to prevent the extinction of species, yet there are a host of bills in the House that seek to give even more power to economic interests while weakening decisions made using the best available science. For example, H.R. 1142 (Pfluger R-TX) would require economic impacts to be weighed when considering which species to protect, allowing species to go extinct in favor of monetary gain. Likewise, H.R. 97 (Biggs R-AZ) would exempt the military from the ESA, setting a dangerous precedent that some branches of the federal government don’t have to comply with the law. This would open the door for exercises or bombing ranges that could easily wipe out species and their habitats.
Additionally, in the trend of ignoring science H.R. 518 (McClintock R-CA) would allow even poor-quality data to automatically be considered the best available science and be used in listing or delisting decisions by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or National Marine Fisheries Service.
Unfortunately, many bills this session seek to remove individual species protections including S. 1895 (Johnson R-WI), a politically motivated attack on wolves nationwide. If passed, this bill would strip ESA protections from wolves. Wolf populations nationwide have not recovered enough to warrant delisting and we know from past experience that removing protections for wolves opens a floodgate of state-sanctioned kills. There are at least three bills this session attacking these iconic carnivores.
Meanwhile, S. 445 (Lummis R-WY) is an example of just 1 of at least 4 bills targeting grizzly bears. This particular bill seeks to strip protections from over 700 grizzlies of the greater Yellowstone ecosystem population, which opens the door for rampant trophy hunting and statewide killing. This isn’t the first time these bears have been in danger and it won’t be the last. In 2017 they were delisted due to political pressure. Indigenous tribes and environmentalists sued and won, which forced Wyoming and Idaho to cancel planned grizzly bear hunts.
With all these attacks, wildlife nationwide need strong champions to stand up for them now more than ever. Senator Merkley has taken action to protect the ESA in the past. As Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, his colleagues look to him for leadership. Please take action and tell Senator Merkley to help stop these bad bills in their tracks to ensure wolves, grizzly bears, and countless other imperiled species are protected!