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For Immediate Release, February 2, 2010

Contact: Bill Snape, (202) 536-9351

Obama Administration Proposes Budget Cuts for Endangered Species Listing

WASHINGTON— Although the Obama administration’s proposed budget for endangered species includes much-needed increases for climate change planning and adaptation, it proposes to cut funding or flatline budgets for other key endangered species programs, including listing, recovery, candidate conservation, and law enforcement.

“Although acknowledging the serious threat to endangered species from climate change, Interior Secretary Salazar is proposing budget cuts to the very programs species need to survive a changing world,” said Bill Snape, a senior attorney at the Center’s Washington office. “Climate change threatens to push many currently endangered but poorly protected species over the brink, but the secretary’s not making providing greater protections for species a priority.”      

The Obama administration has proposed to cut funding for listing of endangered species by 5 percent. Currently, there are 249 species that are designated as candidates for listing as endangered species. Candidate species, including the New England cottontail, yellow-billed loon, Yosemite toad, and many others, are species that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has determined do need protection, but for which they claim they lack the resources to actually provide that protection. Many animals and plants have been waiting decades for protection, and most are gravely endangered. To date, the administration has only protected two species under the Endangered Species Act. By comparison, the Clinton administration protected an average of 65 species per year.

“Secretary Salazar is not prioritizing protection of endangered species,” said Snape. “With threats from habitat loss, pollution, invasive species, and climate change all on the rise, budget cuts are the last thing the nation’s endangered species need.”

The proposed budget also cuts funding for candidate conservation, which is supposed to provide protection to candidate species in the absence of listing, by almost 9 percent; cuts funding for endangered species law enforcement by almost 4 percent; and is nearly flat for recovery.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 255,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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