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Beyer, Dingell, And Grijalva Lead 100+ Members In Call To Safeguard Endangered Species Act

Today, Reps. Don Beyer, Debbie Dingell, and Raúl M. Grijalva led a group of 105 Democrats in a letter to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross urging them to withdraw recently proposed changes that weaken the Endangered Species Act. The changes would weaken protections for endangered species and their habitats and impair the consultation process between federal agencies. As America’s most effective law for protecting wildlife, ninety-nine percent of species listed under the Act have gone on to survive or been set on the path to recovery. The lawmakers cited this overwhelming success rate as a key reason to uphold the law as it currently stands.

They wrote:

“We write to express our opposition to the proposed rules (FWS–HQ–ES–2018–0006, FWS–HQ–ES–2018–0007, and FWS–HQ–ES–2018–0009) to amend the regulations for implementing sections 4 and 7 of the Endangered Species Act. The proposals, which in many instances are not consistent with the spirit of the law as Congress intended, rescind longstanding conservation regulations that have proven both effective and popular. We are deeply alarmed that the very agencies tasked with the conservation of our wildlife are seeking to drastically impair the protections for threatened and endangered species, the safeguards of critical habitat, and the consultation process between federal agencies.

“The proposals would undermine essential conservation tools that have protected imperiled species and their habitats for decades. A particularly problematic theme throughout these vaguely-worded proposals is that none of them are likely to improve conservation of species. Given the many recent attacks on the Endangered Species Act and the environment from this administration, we have little reason to trust that these proposals will in any way benefit wildlife, and therefore do not support changing longstanding and effective regulations as species hover perilously close to extinction.

“We stand in firm opposition to the three proposed rules, and we ask FWS and NMFS to instead take proactive measures to prevent permanent extinction of imperiled species.”

The full text of and a signed copy of the letter is available here.