Barrasso Bill Courts Extinction for American Wildlife

The Endangered Species Act has saved 99 percent of listed species

Wyoming Senator John Barrasso (R), introduced legislation that would eviscerate the Endangered Species Act, the wildly effective and popular law that saved the bald eagle, grizzly bear, humpback whale and others from extinction.

Barrasso’s bill attacks the very qualities that have been critical to the Endangered Species Act’s enduring success: science-based decision-making and citizen engagement. The bill would undermine the Endangered Species Act’s science-based listing process and instead give undue authority to state officials, giving politicians the power to influence whether imperiled species are deserving of protection, while also undercutting judicial review of delisting decisions. Barrasso, chair of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, long claimed he wanted to introduce a bipartisan bill, yet he failed to recruit a Democratic co-sponsor to the controversial legislation.

Following is a statement from Nora Apter, legislative advocate for the Natural Resources Defense Council:

“Bald eagles would have been relegated to dusty museum cases if we had taken the approach Senator Barasso proposes when our national symbol was in trouble. When wildlife disappears, it’s gone forever. The Endangered Species Act is the country’s last line of defense to protect threatened plants and animals, and preserve our wilderness heritage for future generations.”

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The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 2 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City; Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles; San Francisco; Chicago; Bozeman, Montana; and Beijing. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.