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For Immediate Release, March 4, 2013

Contact: Bill Snape, (202) 536-9351 or

Poll: Two-thirds of Americans Want Congress to Strengthen, Protect Endangered Species Act

WASHINGTON— A new poll finds that two out of three Americans want the Endangered Species Act strengthened or left alone, but not weakened. More people also said the United States is still not doing enough to protect species from extinction. The poll results come less than a week after Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) proposed a bill to amend the Endangered Species Act to allow the oil and gas industry, corporations and local politicians the power to veto legal settlements aimed at protecting the country’s most imperiled animals and plants.

“The Endangered Species Act enjoys deep and broad support. This poll clearly shows that Americans don’t want Congress to do anything that weakens it. In fact, more people said it should be stronger,” said Bill Snape, senior counsel at the Center for Biological Diversity, which commissioned the national poll of 657 registered voters. The poll had a margin of error of +-3.85 percent and was conducted by Public Policy Polling on Feb. 22, 23 and 24.

The poll’s results released today:

A strong majority says Congress should strengthen the Endangered Species Act (42 percent) or leave it alone (25 percent) and 24 percent say it should be weakened.

50 percent say the country has done too little to protect wildlife and that too many species are being threatened with extinction, while 33 percent say the United States has done too much; 18 percent weren’t sure.

45 percent oppose an Obama administration proposal to allow portions of protected “critical habitat” for wildlife to be logged, paved or developed, while 28 percent approved and 27 percent were unsure.

The Endangered Species Act celebrates its 40th anniversary in December 2013. It has saved 99 percent of the species it protects from extinction and put hundreds of plants and animals on the road to recovery. A Center study last year of 110 species around the country found that 90 percent — from whales and sea turtles to birds and mammals — are recovering at the rate predicted by government scientists.

“This poll is a powerful rebuke of those in Congress who want to tear the Endangered Species Act apart,” Snape said. “Protecting plants and animals also gives protection to our air, water, climate and wild places. Americans understand the value of the Endangered Species Act, and they don’t want politicians mucking it up.”

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