Senator John Barrasso has put out a draft piece of legislation to rewrite the Endangered Species Act that undercuts science-based decision making, judicial review and imposes burdensome reporting requirements. It is all about politics, not science, and especially not improving the conservation of endangered species including the grey wolf, whooping crane, blanding’s turtle, wood turtle, and the karner blue butterfly.
AND IT’S COMING FAST.
The bill just dropped this week, and a hearing has already been scheduled for next Tuesday, July 17th.
What’s at Stake?
This bill would dramatically weaken the Endangered Species Act (ESA) – our nation’s most effective law protecting wildlife in danger of extinction. The bill would:
- Undermine the ESA’s reliance on science, especially in recovering species
- Give states the ability to veto endangered species restoration projects and, had it been law, would have prevented the restoration of wolves to Yellowstone and the Northern Rockies
- Make it harder to list imperiled species by requiring recovery goals during listing
- Reduce public involvement and agency accountability
- Slow agency conservation actions by requiring cumbersome and unnecessary new procedures.
This partisan bill seeks to impose overweening and inappropriate state control over the most important processes to list, protect and recover imperiled species under the ESA.
States lack the legal authority, resources and political resolve to implement the ESA. A 2017 study by the U.C. Irvine School of Law’s Center for Land, Environment and Natural Resources entitled the Limitations of State Laws and Resources for Endangered Species Protections found, among other things:
- Only 4% of states have authority to promote the recovery of imperiled species
- Only 5% of spending on imperiled species is by the states
- Only 10% of states have significant habitat safeguards
- Recent examples of states lacking the political will to protect endangered species, or are opening hostile to their protection, include:
- New Mexico’s state government has been openly hostile to the federal effort to recover Mexican wolves.
- North Carolina’s state government has been openly hostile to the federal effort to reintroduce and recover red wolves in a five-county area around Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge.
- When gray wolves were listed as endangered in the Northern Rockies both Idaho and Wyoming advocated for expanded lethal control of wolves and both states adopted minimally protective management plans.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Please identify your senator below, get on the phone and ask them to oppose the Barrasso bill. This piece of legislation would have devastating effects on wolves, other endangered species and the future of the Endangered Species Act itself. If you do not know who your senator is or they are not included on the list below, please click here.