What the Heck is Going On with All These Anti-Endangered Species Bills?

Melissa Smith

Just like you, I have been in a swirl of bills, riders, hearings and it can be quite confusing as to what is actually going on in Congress with endangered species right now. It’s a barrage of attacks, so I have highlighted the actions you as a group or individual can take to help save the Endangered Species Act.


The House passed their interior appropriations bill this week (July 19th) with only one bad amendment failing regarding the New Mexican Jumping Mouse. So now we really need to put pressure on all of our Senators because I suspect they will try to get the interior appropriations bill passed before recess. We did very well here and suspect we can beat back anti-wildlife riders WITH YOUR HELP.

URGENT: Call your Senator RIGHT NOW and ask for a clean appropriations bill with no anti-wildlife riders!


The EPW hearing went well for wildlife. There is no formal bill yet and so far it has zero Democrat support. If his bill gets a number, it will go into a formal environmental committee where there may be yet another hearing. It then has to be marked up and needs a lot of leg work. Mostly this was done for Governor Mead of Wyoming and has no bipartisan support. We will keep an eye on this as it moves, as it may be a placeholder for a lame duck session. Ask your Governor to support the Endangered Species Act with a letter of support. Email msmith@wiwolvesandwildlife.org for more information.


This has passed both Senate and House, however, please call on your Representatives and Senators and demand that the Sage Grouse rider and Marine Mammal rider are struck from the final bill. If you know veterans or people in active duty, ask them to make a special plea to save wildlife.


The Congressional Western Caucus seeks to protect private property, strengthen local control, foster economic growth and increase energy independence.

These are 9 bills that seek to gut the Endangered Species Act were introduced last week in the House Natural Resources Committee. They are the LIST, EMPOWERS, LOCAL, PETITION, LAMP, PREDICTS, WHOLE, STORAGE and the Endangered Species Transparency and Reasonableness Act.

These bills range from the secretary being able to delist any species at his or her discretion, giving states rights over federal law, privatizing endangered animals and their habitats, removing critical habitat designation, allowing the secretary to determine who “stakeholders” such as the NRA, Trophy hunters and oil and gas industry and not the public. These bills also dangerously limit litigation efforts by the public to keep the agency accountable. These bills are very destructive for species recovery and go against the fabric of the Endangered Species Act and public trust. Call on your Representatives and those on the House Natural Resources Committee to reject marking up these anti-wildlife bills.


Ryan Zinke’s Department of Interior released a series of proposed changes to the way the agency interprets and carries out actions under the Endangered Species Act. Among the proposals are:

  • Changes to the requirement that federal agencies consult with expert wildlife agencies and scientists when seeking permits for projects such as logging or oil and gas drilling operations.
  • Removal of the existing protection against “take” (meaning harassment, hunting, shooting, trapping, wounding, or other harm) for any newly-listed threatened species.
  • Alterations to the process of listing species and designating habitat for their protection and recovery under the Endangered Species Act.

We will update you on when the comment period opens to object to all of these horrible changes to the Endangered Species Act with talking points soon. In the meantime, take to Facebook or Twitter and help amplify his scandals.

Scandal 1: Interior watchdog opens probe of land deal linking Zinke, Halliburton chairman


Another day, another corruption scandal for @SecretaryZinke. The Department of @Interior announced to today an official investigation into a real estate deal involving a foundation established by Ryan Zinke and developers including Halliburton Chairman David Lesar. The inspector general’s probe will focus on whether Zinke violated conflict of interest laws, the latest official inquiry of Zinke’s activities in his 16 months helming the department.

This adds to a long line of ethics violations and questionable judgement as watchdogs and the Inspector General have probed his use of private jets, numerous conflicts of interest, and alleged Hatch Act violations. Read more.


@Interior Department’s internal watchdog has launched a full investigation into a real estate deal involving a foundation established by @SecretraryZinke and developers including Halliburton Chairman David Lesar. #Scandal #InvestigateZinke Read more.

A new #scandal involving @SecretaryZinke is being investigated by the @Interior Inspector General to determine if a real estate deal with Halliburton Chair violated conflicts of interest and #ethics laws. Read more.

Halliburton relies on @Interior for billions in business for oil & gas extraction on #publiclands. A new investigation is probing @SecretaryZinke’s real estate deal with Halliburton’s Chairman for conflicts of interest. This is why #oversight matters. Read more.

Scandal 2: Documents Raise More Ethics Issues For Ex-NRA Lobbyist Working For Ryan Zinke


Last year, @SecretaryZinke created the International Wildlife Conservation Council to advise the administration on international hunting. However, Zinke has packed this council with pro hunting advocates and former NRA lobbyist and Interior official Ben Cassidy, raising numerous ethics issues.

Zinke and his cronies continue to play fast and loose with the rules, while international trophy hunting continues with very little transparency into the rule-making process. Read more.


Ethics violations abound in @SecretaryZinke’s @Interior, with new reports showing former NRA lobbyist Ben Cassidy working closely to launch a wildlife advisory board in favor of big game #trophyhunting. #ZinkeScandal #InvestigateZinke Read more.

A public information request by @SierraClub to @Interior has revealed that former NRA lobbyist Ben Cassidy played a major role in launching the Admin’s wildlife advisory board, packing it with wealthy #trophyhunting advocates. #InvestigateZinke Read more.

International wildlife conservation is critical to the survival of some of the world’s most majestic animals. But new documents show @SecretaryZinke’s wildlife advisory board was launched by a former NRA lobbyist & is packed with #trophyhunting advocates. Read more. #ZinkeScandal #InvestigateZinke

Scandal 3: How Trump’s wildlife board is rebranding trophy hunting as good for animals


Big game trophy hunting is not a sport. President Trump even called it a “horror show.” Yet despite this proclamation and formation of an advisory board, President Trump and Interior Secretary Zinke continue to allow, even encourage, trophies imported into the country.

In fact, trophy hunters hold immense clout in the Trump administration. The hunting advisory council operates under the auspices of the interior secretary, Ryan Zinke, who received $10,000 from the Safari Club during his 2016 congressional campaign. The lopsided composition means the council may protect their chosen pastime, not the animals. We must fight back and make our voices heard that trophy hunting is cruel and should be banned. Read more.


#TrophyHunting is cruel and counter to global #conservation goals, yet the Trump Administration and @SecretaryZinke — with the support of safari hunting donors and the NRA — are expanding it. #ZinkeScandal #InvestigateZinke Read more.

Despite what members of Trump’s wildlife board say, #TrophyHunting is not #conservation. Labeling it as such is a means to empower wealthy hunters to kill some of the globe’s most vulnerable and majestic animals. Read more.

People who consider themselves conservationists don’t consider #trophyhunting #conservation. Trump’s wildlife board argues the sport, in which wealthy hunters pay big $$ to shoot endangered megafauna, is a laudable method of conservation. This is wrong. Read more.



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