House Lawmakers Seek to Gut Endangered Species Act
The Endangered Species Act (ESA) was passed in 1973 because Americans believed that protecting our wildlife was an obligation to future generations, our nation’s environmental health, our fellow creatures, and the heart of the American way of life. It included wildlife ranges and habitats irrespective of political boundaries because these habitats, which are vital to species survival, cross arbitrary lines. Today, many politicians have forgotten the values Congress embraced four decades ago, and they now attempt to undermine one of most successful bipartisan pieces of legislation our country has ever adopted.
The ESA has given thousands of at-risk species a second chance for over four decades and has worked successfully to prevent the extinction of 99% of the species placed under its protection. A recent national poll found that the ESA is supported by 90% of American voters.
Despite its success and public support, a group of House lawmakers introduced a package of nine bills to gut the Endangered Species Act.
The ambitious legislative package would accomplish numerous longstanding Republican goals for weakening the ESA, like making it easier for the government to remove species from the endangered or threatened lists and preventing organizations from suing to try to get species protected.
The package comes less than two weeks after Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, introduced a comprehensive measure in that chamber to change the ESA.