Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, September 11, 2017

Contact: Noah Greenwald, (503) 484-7495,

House Republicans Advance Five Bills to Weaken Endangered Species Act

Legislation Would Delay Protections for Hundreds of Imperiled Animals, Plants, Undermine Science, Curtail Citizen Participation

WASHINGTON— Led by Chairman Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), the House Natural Resources Committee will mark up and advance five bills Wednesday that would severely undermine the Endangered Species Act.

Last December Bishop stated his goal was to repeal the Act in its entirety. If passed, these bills would get Bishop much closer to his goal. 

“These cynical bills would put hundreds of plants and animals on a fast track to extinction,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Rep. Bishop and the other Republicans on the House Natural Resources Committee are out of step with the vast majority of Americans who support a strong Endangered Species Act.”

On Wednesday Republicans will consider the following bills:

  • H.R. 717 by Rep. Pete Olson (R-Texas) would require consideration of the economic costs of protecting an animal or plant on the endangered species list and remove all deadlines for completing the listing process. Given that it already takes the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service an average of 12 years to put a species on the endangered species list, the bill would all but ensure that species never receive lifesaving protections.
  • H.R. 1274 by Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.) would automatically deem any information submitted by a state or local government to be the “best available” science even if such information were contradictory, out-of-date or fraudulent, weakening the listing process for endangered species.
  • H.R. 3131 by Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Mich.) would hamper citizen enforcement and participation in the implementation of the Endangered Species Act. Undercutting the ability of citizens to bring lawsuits would make the agency more prone to improperly consider politics in its listing decisions and prevent imperiled species from receiving protections in a timely manner.
  • H.R. 2603 by Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) attempts to limit the Endangered Species Act’s provisions for exotic game species that have been imported into the United States for trophy hunting. If taken literally this legislation would remove the need for conservation permits of exotic game species, eliminating a critical funding source for overseas conservation of those very species.
  • H.R. 424 by Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) would reinstate a 2011 decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remove federal protections for gray wolves in the western Great Lakes states. In 2017 a federal appellate court upheld a decision by a district court judge that the delisting decision was legally flawed and affirmed that wolves still needed protection. The legislation would invalidate these two court opinions and preclude all judicial review into the future.

The Natural Resources Committee will also consider H.R. 3668, the “SHARE Act,” which would also end federal protections for gray wolves in the western Great Lakes states, create an enormous loophole for polar bear trophy hunting andrestrict the ability of the EPA to address lead pollution from fishing gear..

Since January congressional Republicans have launched 50 legislative attacks against the Endangered Species Act or particular endangered species. Since the Republican takeover of the House of Representatives in 2011, more than 271 attacks have been instigated. These attacks continue despite the fact that nine out of 10 Americans support the Endangered Species Act and want it either strengthened or left unchanged by Congress, according to a 2015 poll.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.5 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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