House Members Attack the Endangered Species Act

A set of nine bills would threaten one of our most effective protections for wildlife.

A gopher tortoise, which is currently proposed for listing under the Endangered Species Act

Florida Fish and Wildlife/Flickr

Taking aim at the long-standing—and highly successful—Endangered Species Act, the Congressional Western Caucus introduced a group of nine bills that would significantly weaken the bedrock wildlife conservation law. “Our most effective law for protecting wildlife in danger of extinction is once again under attack in the House of Representatives,” says Nora Apter, a legislative advocate at NRDC.

The bills claim to “modernize” the 40-year-old law, but instead, they transfer excessive authority to state officials, undercut the science-based listing process that’s fundamental to the ESA, and impair citizens’ ability to enforce the law.

The ESA as it exists continues to be one of our nation’s most effective—and popular—conservation policies, bringing numerous species back from the brink, including national treasures like bald eagles. “The false pretense of ‘modernizing’ a law that has kept 99 percent of species under its care from going extinct is a dirty strategy for gutting a law for greed,” Apter says. “The Endangered Species works, and any effort to weaken it will be fought vigorously."

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