For Immediate Release, July 29, 2014

Contact: Brett Hartl, (202) 817-8121

House of Representatives Approves Bill to Weaken Endangered Species Act

 Legislation Will Divert Resources From Endangered Species Recovery,
Limit Public's Watchdog Abilities

WASHINGTON— In a partisan vote today, House Republicans approved Tea Party legislation designed to cripple the Endangered Species Act by redirecting funding and restricting the historically important roles of citizens and scientists, in favor of politicians, in decisions to protect plants and animals facing extinction.

“This remarkably shortsighted legislation is yet another Republican scheme to push politics and corporate profits ahead of protecting endangered species and the long-term health of the world we live in,” said Brett Hartl, endangered species policy director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Diverting the Fish and Wildlife Service’s budget and manpower to punitive reporting requirements hamstrings endangered species recovery efforts. This is nothing more than a Tea Party gift to the oil and gas industry and other powerful special interests.”

House Bill 4315 was introduced by Rep. Doc Hastings, the Washington Republican who chairs the House Natural Resources Committee, who has frequently sought to weaken the Act and increase red tape rather than wildlife protection. As passed by the House today, the legislation would require the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to post all information about listing decisions online, despite the fact that posting some geographically specific information contributes nothing to recovering species and increases the risks of poaching and collecting of highly imperiled plants and animals. 

In addition, the legislation defines the best available science as any data provided by a state or local government regardless of its quality — or even if that data was falsified to further a political objective. The legislation imposes new, burdensome reporting requirements on litigation related to the Endangered Species Act, despite data on litigation being readily available to the public already.

“Despite overwhelming evidence that we’re in the midst of the greatest extinction crisis in human history, House Republicans keep voting to weaken the Endangered Species Act,” said Hartl. “Just like with climate change, Republicans would rather stick their heads in the sand and claim ignorance of what’s going on here — the Act is an overwhelmingly successful law that over the past 40 years has prevented the extinction of bald eagles, gray whales and American alligators and put hundreds of other species on the path to recovery.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 775,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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