Extinction Rider Averted: Vote for Wildlife Protections a Rare Bi-Partisan Effort in the House

WASHINGTON (July 27, 2011) -- An amendment to the Department of Interior appropriations bill preserving resources to protect our country’s wildlife passed the House of Representatives today. The amendment, co-sponsored by Reps. Norm Dicks (D-WA), Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Mike Thompson (D-CA) and Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI), removes from the bill the “extinction rider,” which would have preventing from preventing additional species under the Endangered Species Act.

Following are comments from the Natural Resources Defense Council Lands and Wildlife program director Andrew Wetzler:

“This rider would have been a death sentence for our nation’s most endangered species. It is refreshing to see Congress make clear that the Endangered Species Act remains essential today. But other riders are looming in this appropriations bill that would pollute our air, foul our water, and remove wildlife protections.

“The budget should be about the budget -- we hope that this will be the first in a series of votes that get Congress back into focus on the fiscal matters they are supposed to be minding, rather than sidetracking themselves on rollbacks of the bedrock environmental protections that we all rely upon. Today’s bipartisan effort to protect the wildlife that Americans care for and value is exactly the sort of clear-eyed, reasonable decision that voters have been looking for out of Congress. Hopefully there will be more to come.”