Conservation Groups Applaud Senate Defense of Environment

SAN FRANCISCO (February 10, 2005) -- Gov. Schwarzenegger today withdrew his nomination of Marilyn Hendrickson to the California Fish and Game Commission after she drew the ire of conservation groups, and state Senate leaders opposed her confirmation. The groups had urged the Senate to block Hendrickson after repeated commission votes in which she opposed protections for fish and wildlife.

"The Senate did the right thing by sending the message that it would not confirm Hendrickson," said Kate Wing, NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) ocean policy analyst. "We are pleased that we have a Legislature and administration that take resource protection seriously."

Schwarzenegger nominated Hendrickson to the commission last March. The Senate had until next month to confirm her nomination, but in the meantime Hendrickson sat on the commission and made a series of controversial votes. Most recently, she voted last week against considering listing the tri-colored blackbird as an endangered species in California.

In a letter this week to Senate President pro Tempore Don Perata and the Senate Rules Committee, the conservation groups said Hendrickson's "record on conservation issues is extremely poor." The groups cited votes against protections for seabirds, tiger salamanders, Coho salmon, squid and California condors in urging lawmakers to oppose Hendrickson's nomination.

Hendrickson had become the deciding vote on the 5-member commission against the recommendations of scientists and the Department of Fish and Game.

"California has more endangered species than any other state on the continent," said Kim Delfino, California program director with Defenders of Wildlife. "It's critically important that we have a Fish and Game Commission that's committed to reversing that trend and protecting fish and wildlife."

The letter was signed by representatives of 11 groups: NRDC, Defenders of Wildlife, Sierra Club, California League of Conservation Voters, Center for Biological Diversity, Environmental Defense, Heal the Bay, Planning and Conservation League, Environment California, and The Ocean Conservancy.