House Passes Rep. Pombo’s Anti-Endangered Species bill HR 3824

On September 29, 2005, the U.S. House of Representatives passed HR 3824, the cynically titled "Threatened and Endangered Species Recovery Act of 2005” by Rep Richard Pombo (R-CA). The bill would systematically remove every proven recovery tool from the Endangered Species Act.

Text of Pombo bill HR 3824
Fact sheet on Pombo bill HR 3824
Legislative analysis of Pombo bill HR 3824

The bill HR 3824 is the work of Representative Richard Pombo (R-CA), chair of the House Resources Committee and Congress's loudest opponent of endangered species protections. Representative Pombo has long represented the interests of developers and the oil and mining industries.

Pombo rushed his bill through Congress in a mere ten days to restrict the amount of time fellow Members of Congress had to analyze the bill, and to minimize the amount of time the media and groups like the Center for Biological Diversity had to get the word out about the bill.

Furthermore, when Pombo’s bill passed through his House Resources Committee, Pombo had included a few small protections for wildlife in exchange for support from some of the Democratic members of the committee. However, on the day of the House vote, with almost no debate and no time for Members of Congress to review these last minute changes, Pombo changed his bill to remove those few protections he had previously included and made this terrible bill even worse.

The bill passed the House in a 229 to 193 vote, falling largely along party lines, with 34 Republicans voting against the bill and 36 Democrats voting for it. A valiant effort to save the Endangered Species Act was fought by both Democrats and Republicans. The Center for Biological Diversity especially thanks: Jim Saxton (R-NJ), Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD), Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY), Tom Udall, (D-NM), Jay Inslee (D-WA), Ed Markey (D-MA), Norm Dicks (D-WA), and Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) for speaking up against the Pombo bill in Congress.

See how your representative voted on Pombo bill HR 3824

If the Pombo bill were to become law, it would be a terrible blow to endangered species, removing all requirements to protect endangered species habitat and crippling our ability to recover endangered species.

The Pombo bill would:

  • Completely remove protections for endangered species critical habitat
  • Allow political appointees - such as Secretary of Interior Gale Norton - instead of scientists, to determine what constitutes the best available science
  • Greatly weaken recovery efforts, by making recovery plans voluntary and bending them to the desires of developers
  • Undermine the government’s ability to protect endangered species by removing independent review to ensure that they do not drive species extinct
  • Bankrupt endangered species programs by forcing the Fish and Wildlife Service to pay off developers to not violate the law

"This bill takes a wrecking ball to our nation's most important wildlife protection law," said Kieran Suckling, policy director of the Center for Biological Diversity. "The Endangered Species Act is the safety net for America's imperiled plants and animals. The Republican dominated House of Representatives have ripped it apart, consigning God's creation to extinction."

The Pombo bill now heads to the Senate where it may be taken up any time over the next few months. Senators Lincoln Chafee (R-RI) and Hillary Clinton (D-NY) of the Senate Subcommittee on Fisheries Wildlife and Water have declared that they are in no rush to take up the Pombo bill and are committed to a full deliberative process to address the challenges and needs of endangered species protections. However, Senators Mike Crapo (R-ID) and James Inhofe (R-OK) are pushing to adopt the Pombo bill as soon as possible. We are calling on the Senate to reject Pombo’s bill and refuse to pass any Endangered Species Act legislation that will remove protections for America’s most imperiled plants and wildlife.

What you can do to help stop the Pombo Anti-Endangered Species bill

The Endangered Species Act protects 1,300 of America's most endangered plants and animals. Originally created in 1973, it has a saved over 99% of these species from extinction including the Bald Eagle, Grizzly Bear, Gray Wolf, Sea Otter, and Grizzly Bear. It has also lived up to its mission to "protect the ecosystems upon which endangered species depend" by preserving over 200 million acres of essential wildlife habitat from Hawaii to Maine.

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