For Immediate Release, February 12, 2014

Contact: Brett Hartl, (202) 817-8121

Major Errors, Falsehoods in Republicans' Report and Proposal to Dismantle Endangered Species Act

Plan Recommendations Based on Wild Claims, Out-of-context Quotes, Data Manipulation

WASHINGTON— An analysis released by the Center for Biological Diversity today finds a series of significant factual errors in a report that formed the basis of a recent proposal by 13 House Republicans to dismantle key portions of the Endangered Species Act. The Center’s new analysis — which highlights 12 key errors in the report — was sent in a letter to Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.), the report’s primary author.

The Republicans’ proposal would cripple key parts of the Act. It would limit citizens’ ability to hold government accountable and allow local authorities more influence over which plants and animals receive protections; it would give politicians, instead of scientists, more power over how the Endangered Species Act is administered, and would reduce protections for species on the brink of extinction.

“The Republicans’ proposal is little more than a laundry list of unverified complaints from cherry-picked witnesses from the six hearings held by the Natural Resources Committee over the past three years,” said Brett Hartl, endangered species policy director with the Center. “It’s telling that 118 of the citations in the report are from unsubstantiated statements from its own selected hearing witnesses and the statements of Republican members of the Committee. There’s not a single reference to a peer-reviewed scientific publication — not one — to support any recommendation for changes to the Act.”

The report’s recommendations specifically target the Center’s historic agreement in 2011 to speed up protection decisions for 757 imperiled plants and animals around the country and seeks to limit the ability of citizens to hold the government accountable in court when the Endangered Species Act is violated.

The report incorrectly blames the Act for increases in catastrophic wildfires; it parrots industry talking points that protecting highly imperiled species will devastate the U.S. economy. The report also misinterprets data provided by the Department of Justice on the role of litigation under the Act.

“Any discussion on changes to the Endangered Species Act — certainly the most important law protecting plants and animals from extinction — ought to be based on facts, not flimsy assertions and Tea Party fantasies,” Hartl said.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 675,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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