Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, July 19, 2023

Contact:

Stephanie Kurose, (202) 849-8395, skurose@biologicaldiversity.org

House Republicans Advance Funding Bill Attacking Environment, Endangered Species

WASHINGTON— The House Appropriations Committee passed a funding bill today with massive cuts to the U.S. Department of Interior and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The legislation, passed along party lines, also contains dozens of poison pill riders attacking public health, the environment and endangered species.

The bill slashes U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s overall budget by 14% compared to last year’s funding levels. The EPA’s budget would be gutted by 40%, bringing the agency back to funding levels not seen since 1991.

“It’s a sick joke that House Republicans want to force the EPA back to an era when VCRs were in every household and the World Wide Web was first invented,” said Stephanie Kurose, a senior policy specialist at the Center for Biological Diversity. “This disastrous bill would undo decades of progress and bring windfalls for the biggest fossil fuel polluters driving the climate crisis.”

The legislation contains dozens of harmful policy riders that would undermine the Endangered Species Act and other safeguards for our nation’s most vulnerable wildlife.

One rider would remove federal protections for all gray wolves in the lower 48 states, except a small population of Mexican gray wolves in Arizona and New Mexico. Another rider would remove protections for grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone and Northern Continental Divide ecosystems.

The legislation also includes a provision that would block the Service from considering protections for the greater sage grouse. Congress has included this rider in spending legislation for the last seven years, but this year expanded it to include a highly endangered population of bi-state sage grouse in California and western Nevada.

The bill also contains a new rider to codify climate denialism into law by exempting federal land management agencies from updating their plans when new information — often based on new knowledge about the increasingly severe impacts of climate change — shows endangered species are being harmed or killed on our nation's public lands.

Other harmful riders include:

  • Removing federal protections for the lesser prairie chicken, a highly imperiled ground-nesting bird;
  • Blocking increased protections for the northern long-eared bat;
  • Blocking protections for the dunes sagebrush lizard;
  • Blocking funding for the North Cascades Grizzly Bear Ecosystem Restoration Plan, which aims to restore grizzly bears to the North Cascades;
  • Prohibiting any federal agency from banning or restricting lead in ammunition or fishing gear;
  • Prohibiting the EPA from regulating rodenticides that harm species like the black-footed ferret, San Joaquin kit fox, and aplomado falcon;
  • Undermining the ability of states and the EPA to address cancer and human health risks associated with the most dangerous pesticides.

“House Republicans get more heartless every year in their never-ending war on our health, environment and wildlife heritage,” said Kurose. “This legislation is a horror show inside a dumpster fire. We’re living through daily catastrophes because of an overheating planet and our leaders should be doing everything they can to fight the climate emergency and stem the extinction crisis. Instead, this hostile Congress is carpet-bombing our nation’s most important environmental laws.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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