Bill Weakening Wildlife Protections Comes Closer to Becoming Law

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 29, 2014

Contact: Melanie Gade, Defenders of Wildlife: mgade@defenders.org; 202-772-0288

Bill Weakening Wildlife Protections Comes Closer to Becoming Law

WASHINGTON— The House leadership continued its ongoing assault on imperiled wildlife and the environment today by supporting the passage of bill H.R. 4315 (233-190) that undermines essential protective provisions of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The bill is drawn directly from a sham investigative “report” issued by House Natural Resources Committee Chair Doc Hastings and his self-appointed, partisan “ESA Working Group” earlier this year. The report outlined an aggressive and hostile legislative strategy to weaken or even eliminate key ESA protections for imperiled wildlife.

Even though today the Obama Administration released a veto threat saying that if the President were presented with H.R. 4315, his senior advisers would recommend that he veto the bill, today the House passed the bill voting largely along party lines.

Eight Republicans, led by Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA), opposed this legislation. For the House minority, opposition to the measures was led by Rep. Peter Defazio (D-OR), Mike Thompson (D-CA), John Dingell (D-MI), George Miller (D-CA) and Jim Moran (D-VA)

Defenders of Wildlife President and CEO Jamie Rappaport Clark issued the following statement:

“The passage of this bill is a reflection of the dramatic departure the current House leadership has taken from the conservation values we embraced as a nation 40 years ago when the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act were signed into law to protect our air, land, water and wildlife for future generations. Stewardship of our nation’s resources used to be a priority for Congress, but too often today, our nation’s resources and wildlife are put on the auction block for sale to the highest bidder; this bill is just the latest example.

“While I am deeply concerned by the House leadership’s continued assault on imperiled wildlife, it is heartening to know that almost all of the House minority and eight members of the House majority saw this bill for what it truly is– part of a larger, concerted effort to weaken the protections for imperiled wildlife in the name of short term economic gains– and voted against it.

“To vote for this bill is to vote to destroy our nation’s commitment to conserve our imperiled natural heritage for generations to come. Contrary to the claims of the bill’s sponsors, this bill does nothing to speed recovery of our nation’s most imperiled species. Instead, the bill reduces the ability of the public to hold agencies accountable for failing to comply with the law, generates more pointless red tape, warps the scientific process for protecting endangered species and creates huge new bureaucratic hurdles to recover our nation’s imperiled wildlife.”

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Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With more than 1.1 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit www.defenders.org and follow us on Twitter @DefendersNews.

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