Chair Grijalva, Senator Udall Introduce Bill to Protect Endangered Species, Reverse Trump’s Changes That Will Add to Extinction Crisis

What: “Protect America’s Wildlife and Fish in Need of Conservation Act of 2019.
When: Today; September 17, 2019
Where: Washington D.C.

 

CONTACT:
Chris Bachman: cbachman@landscouncil.org
(509( 209-2401

Washington D.C. – Natural Resources Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), lead Democrat on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies, introduced legislation today to repeal all three Trump administration final rule changes to the Endangered Species Act, which taken together will fundamentally change the way we protect threatened and endangered species.

Under Trump’s rules, the administration can ignore long-term threats to wildlife from climate change and remove guaranteed protections to threatened species listed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, essentially nullifying the protective value of a threatened listing. 

The full text of the H.R. 4348 is available at:

https://naturalresources.house.gov/imo/media/doc/Grijalva,%20Udall%20ESA%20Bill.pdf

“We are in the middle of an extinction crisis, and President Trump is bulldozing the most important tool we have to protect endangered species,” said Chair Grijalva. “If we want to protect species close to extinction, Congress has no choice but to act. Trump’s changes are handouts to special interests that want to keep lining their pockets regardless of the consequences. If we don’t stop the Trump administration’s short-sighted rollbacks, more wildlife habitats will be sacrificed to oil and gas development.”

 “The Endangered Species Act has been a pillar of environmental protection in this nation for 40 years, without which our most iconic species— including the bald eagle, the gray whale, and the grizzly bear— would likely be extinct,” said Senator Udall. “The Trump administration’s new regulations intentionally cripple the ESA – another giveaway to industry that puts near-term profits ahead of our long-term national interest. The Trump effort to gut the Endangered Species Act turns a blind eye to the science that tells us we should be enhancing wildlife habitat protections not dismantling them at the behest of special interests, at a time when human activity threatens one million species with extinction and the United States is losing a football field worth of natural land every 30 seconds. Stopping this rollback of the Endangered Species Act is critical to restoring the best tools we have for protecting our precious plants and wildlife.”

 Original cosponsors of the bill include ESA Caucus co-chairs Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) and Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.):

 “Huge numbers of key species face unprecedented threats, and we have a moral obligation to do everything in our power to protect them,” said Rep. Beyer. “The Trump Administration’s attacks on the Endangered Species Act are designed to benefit special interests, not the thousands of animal and plant species in the United States at risk of extinction due to habitat loss. With this legislation we are taking a major step to preserve biodiversity and protect imperiled wildlife.”

 “The Endangered Species Act is among the most effective ever passed. For more than 40 years, we have come together in bipartisan fashion to protect species critical to maintaining the balance of our wildlife,” said Rep. Dingell. “The Administration’s efforts to weaken Endangered Species protections are taking us in the wrong direction. We must work together to uphold and build upon the successes of the Endangered Species Act.”

 Grijalva has been a steadfast champion of the ESA and a vocal critic of President Trump’s effort to undermine the successful law. The Trump administration’s erosion of the ESA makes it more difficult to protect and recover threatened and endangered species and gives industry a free pass to destroy the environment.

The ESA is a remarkably successful law: 99% of species listed under the ESA have not gone extinct, and the ESA continues to enjoy bipartisan support across the country. Members of the public submitted hundreds of thousands of comments decrying Trump’s proposed changes during a public comment period earlier this year.

Additional original cosponsors include Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.)

“We thank Rep. Grijalva for his leadership in addressing the Trump Administration’s attack on one of our most successful laws that has broad support from American citizens. It is important to acknowledge that extinction is forever, a species that evolved and found its place in the global ecosystem is gone-never to return. Climate change and a wave of other man made threats are impacting species around the world. Now is not the time to ignore science and gamble away our natural history and heritage over some misguided anti-Endangered Species Act agenda. This critical legislation would rightfully revoke the Trump administration’s reckless rollback of our most important law for protecting our most imperiled species and the habitats that support them." - Chris Bachman, Wildlife Program Director, The Lands Council

The legislation is supported by a broad coalition of organizations, including: The Lands Council, Defenders of Wildlife, Center for Biological Diversity, Natural Resources Defense Council, Earthjustice, Animal Legal Defense Fund, Western Watersheds Project, Endangered Species Coalition, Wildlife Conservation Society, Animal Welfare Institute, Sierra Club, National Parks Conservation Association, WildEarth Guardians, and the Humane Society among others.