September 13, 2018

Udall, Carper, Grijalva, Dingell and Beyer Join Advocates in Defending Endangered Species Act

For over 40 years, the ESA has stood as a bulwark against the extinction of America’s imperiled wildlife

Trump administration has proposed regulatory changes to undermine key protections of the law

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.) and U.S. Representatives Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), and Don Beyer (D-Va.) joined scientists, faith leaders, environmental advocates and the public to gather in support of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the nation’s most effective tool to safeguard wildlife facing extinction. The event highlighted the threat of the Trump administration’s attacks on the ESA before the end of the public comment period in less than two weeks, on September 24. 

Republicans in the current Congress have already introduced more than 100 pieces of legislation to undercut the ESA and roll back federal protections for endangered and threatened species. In July, the Trump administration proposed the most sweeping set of changes to the ESA in several decades, including plans to undermine the longstanding rule that only scientific data can be used in determining whether to protect a species, end key protections for ‘threatened’ species and weaken bedrock consultation requirements. These revisions would undermine the ESA and upend over four decades of bipartisan support for protecting wildlife in danger of extinction. 

“The Trump administration’s determination to dismantle bedrock environmental laws, turn a blind eye to science and roll over for special interests knows no bounds,” said Udall, the lead Democrat on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies. “Now, it wants to put sensitive wildlife habitat up for auction to the highest bidder. But we won’t stand by as this administration and its allies in Congress launch a calculated assault on these bedrock protections on behalf of special interests and anti-environment extremists. My colleagues and I will continue to work tirelessly to show that partisan efforts to gut endangered species safeguards won’t pass muster in Congress.”

“We only have one planet, and it’s our duty to protect it – for all the living things that share it and for future generations,” said Carper. “The Endangered Species Act helped recover the iconic bald eagle and is helping to recover beloved species in Delaware, such as the Red Knot and Piping Plover birds. This should not be a partisan issue. I call upon my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and the Trump Administration to abandon short-sighted efforts to undermine the Endangered Species Act, and instead work with us to better fund this important law that has successfully protected the iconic species that make this country so unique.”  

“Republicans have spent years telling everyone the Endangered Species Act has failed, and yet here it is still successfully protecting all these species and preserving all these habitats decades after it became law,” said Grijalva. It’s not just a great environmental law – it’s groundbreaking legislation that has exponentially improved conservation efforts across the country. Republicans want to destroy it, and we’re here standing in solidarity to protect it. I hate to say it, but it really is that simple.”

“We need to worry about what this Administration is doing to roll back protections for endangered species and habitats,” said Dingell. “The Endangered Species Act is critical to the revitalization of gray wolves, the bald eagle, and the monarch butterfly. We have lost 25 million monarch butterflies in the last decade. They are critical to our environment and irreplaceable once they are extinct. Each species plays a unique role in an ecological system. When they disappear we’ll have problems in our environment. We must be bold and proactive in protecting the environment for future generations and stop the constant efforts to roll back the ESA.”

“The Endangered Species Act is critically important right now, given the Trump Administration’s efforts to attack wildlife conservation,” said Beyer. “Proposals that would remove or restrict protections in favor of an anti-wildlife, anti-climate agenda will have destructive consequences for generations to come. The ESA works, and Congress should work together to keep this law strong for the future.”

Since its passage in 1973, the Endangered Species Act has successfully prevented the extinction of some of America’s most treasured wildlife, including the bald eagle, grizzly bear and California condor.