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White House Endorses ‘Science Based’ ESA Protections

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The Endangered Species Act (ESA) has been a pivotal piece of legislation in the United States for wildlife conservation since its enactment in 1973. With today’s statement from the White House supporting the ESA and opposing S.J. Res. 9, it is evident that the administration recognizes the importance of science-based decision-making and is committed to protecting the environment and wildlife, despite recent attacks from lawmakers like Lauren Boebert, who would see ESA protections rolled back.

In today’s statement, the White House expressed strong opposition to S.J. Res. 9, asserting that “by overturning a science-based rulemaking that follows the requirements of the law, S.J. Res. 9 undermines the Endangered Species Act (ESA).” The admin will likely have to back up that statement soon, with the resolution passing the Senate, and also likely to pass the House to the president’s desk.

The statement emphasizes the administration’s commitment to maintaining the integrity of the ESA and the vital role it plays in wildlife conservation, something we hope continues as attacks mount on wolves, and other endangered species across the U.S. While we support the sentiment, the admin will have to back it up with action should the S.J. Res 9 end up passing through congress as expected.

The Success of the ESA

The ESA celebrated its 50th anniversary just a couple of months ago, and over its 50 years, it’s been wildly successful at rebuilding and maintaining several endangered species across America, with nearly every species listed under the Act still in existence today. As the White House statement points out, “almost every species that has been listed under the ESA since its bipartisan passage 50 years ago is still with us today.” Iconic species such as the bald eagle, whose numbers had plummeted by the 1970s, still grace our national landscape, thanks to the ESA. The Act has saved approximately 99% of its listed species from extinction, proving its efficacy in protecting vulnerable wildlife. Throughout its history, the ESA has enjoyed bipartisan support, reflecting the widespread understanding of its importance for wildlife conservation. The Act is a testament to America’s proud wildlife conservation traditions, and it plays a critical role in maintaining the health of our nation’s ecosystems. The White House statement acknowledges this, stating that “overturning common-sense protections for the lesser prairie-chicken would undermine America’s proud wildlife conservation traditions.” Yet, despite its strong track record, and the support of 90% of American voters, the Endangered Species Act continues to face political threats.

Ongoing Threats

Despite the ESA’s successes and longstanding support, it is currently facing threats from various bills and resolutions, including Rep. Lauren Boebert’s Trust the Science Act (H.R. 764), which aims to remove gray wolves from the ESA’s protection. It is crucial for the administration to remain steadfast in its commitment to defending the ESA against such threats. In today’s statement on S.J. Res. 9, the White House asserts that “if Congress were to pass S.J. Res. 9, the President would veto it.” We hope the same would be true should H.R. 764 continue to gain traction, given its complete lack of science-based justification for the ESA protections it hopes to dismantle.

We stand in support of the administration’s strong stance today in support of the ESA and science, and we will continue to praise this approach to all future ESA challenges that might come across the President’s desk in the coming months. Want to stay in the loop on how the WCC is fighting for endangered wolves across America? Join us in our mission to preserve and protect wolves.