Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, September 24, 2019


Stephanie Kurose, (202) 849-8395,

House Republicans Revive Plan to Cripple Endangered Species Act Amid Extinction Crisis

WASHINGTON— House Republicans from the so-called “Western Caucus” today revived a package of bills from the previous Congress that would do more damage to the Endangered Species Act and condemn hundreds of animals and plants to extinction.

The effort comes soon after the Trump administration finalized the largest attack on imperiled species in the history of the Endangered Species Act.

Among the congressional attacks are provisions to make it almost impossible for endangered wildlife or plants to gain protection and to give states veto power over any decision to protect a species.

The bills would weaken the Endangered Species Act’s “best available science” standard and turn over recovery efforts to states that often lack the funding or regulatory mechanisms to ensure a species’ survival.

“These heartless bills would go beyond even the Trump administration’s efforts to devastate imperiled species like the monarch butterfly and wolverine,” said Stephanie Kurose, an endangered species policy specialist at the Center for Biological Diversity. “House Republicans’ obsessions with dismantling the Endangered Species Act is totally out of touch with the public’s values. Americans overwhelmingly back this bedrock conservation law and oppose the Trump administration’s attempts to destroy this vital safety net.”

Last month the Trump administration finalized three rules that would severely weaken protections for threatened and endangered species across the country. These new regulatory changes come as the world is facing a global extinction crisis.

A landmark global assessment on biodiversity found that humans are driving the extinction of approximately 1 million species, and many of them could go extinct within decades if urgent action isn’t taken.

The legislation introduced today is primarily authored by politicians beholden to the oil and gas and other extractive industries, including Utah Rep. Rob Bishop. Bishop previously stated that his goal was to repeal the Endangered Species Act in its entirety.

“Anyone who loves whales, bald eagles or salmon knows the Endangered Species Act has effectively prevented these and hundreds of other species of wildlife from winking out forever,” Kurose said. “If these bills were to pass, they would rob future generations of their natural heritage.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.6 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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