For Immediate Release, May 14, 2019

Contact:

Brett Hartl, (202) 817-8121, bhartl@biologicaldiversity.org

House Democrats Boost Endangered Species Listing Budget by 30%

Funding Will Help Alleviate Backlog of 500 Animals, Plants Still Waiting for Protection

WASHINGTON— House Democrats today released a funding bill for the Interior Department that includes $23.4 million to evaluate whether imperiled animals and plants warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act. That’s an increase of $5 million from the 2019 budget.

The legislation would also increase the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund by $10 million over 2019 levels to $63 million. The legislation was overseen by Nita Lowey, chair of the House Appropriations Committee, and Betty McCollum, chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies.

Today’s legislation is also notable for having zero poison-pill riders designed to undermine the Endangered Species Act and other critical environmental safeguards. This is the first appropriations bill introduced in the House since 2010 that is clear of all riders.

“Chairwomen Lowey and McCollum deserve enormous credit for recognizing the severity of the extinction crisis and doing something about it,” said Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “This additional funding could help save hundreds of imperiled animals and plants from extinction.”

In early May, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) warned governments around the world that one million species are now at risk of extinction because of the actions of people. IPBES scientists said that urgent actions are needed to avert mass extinctions in the coming decades.

In the United States, approximately 500 imperiled animals and plants still are awaiting a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decision on whether they need protection under the Endangered Species Act. The Trump administration has reviewed species at the lowest rate of any administration — deliberately dragging its feet and extending the listing process to avoid taking action.

“With these additional funds, the Trump administration will have no excuse for further delay in taking action needed to protect our natural heritage,” said Hartl.

A scientific study published in the journal PeerJ shows the Endangered Species Act has saved roughly 99 percent of protected species since its creation in 1973, demonstrating the law has been overwhelmingly successful. The study found that a total of 291 species would have been expected to go extinct without the Endangered Species Act.

In contrast, 47 species have gone extinct while awaiting protections that were denied in part because Congress failed to provide sufficient funds to complete the listing process.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.4 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.