House Natural Resource Committee Passes Four Bills Undermining Endangered Species Protections

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 30, 2014

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

House Natural Resource Committee Passes Four Bills Undermining Endangered Species Protections

WASHINGTON – Today the House Natural Resources Committee passed four bills that will undermine essential protections of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), our nation’s premier safety net for plants, fish and wildlife on the brink of extinction. Democratic members of the Committee proposed amendments to blunt the impact of these harmful bills, but the legislation was passed along party lines without their amendments being adopted. 

Each of the bills stems from a sham investigative “report” issued by Representative Doc Hastings and his self-appointed, partisan “ESA Working Group” earlier this year, which outlined an aggressive and hostile legislative strategy to weaken or even eliminate key ESA protections for imperiled wildlife.

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

“Representative Doc Hastings may cynically call these bills “balanced reforms,” but in reality they are an attempt to strategically weaken one of our nation’s most effective conservation laws, the ESA. None of these bills passed today will do anything to speed the recovery of our nation’s endangered wildlife. All they do is reduce the ability of the public to hold agencies accountable for complying with the law, generate more red tape, undermine the best available science for listing new species, and create huge new hurdles to species recovery. In short, these bills provide a new pathway towards extinction.

“Committee Democrats knew the harm these bills would inflict on imperiled wildlife and offered constructive amendments to reduce the damage they would cause. But committee Republicans said no. Now the bills head to the House floor where members will hopefully see them for what they truly are: An extreme effort to undo vital protections for America’s endangered 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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