ESA Under Attack on Capitol Hill

They’re at it again. Today Congress reviewed six bills over the course of two legislative hearings in both the House and Senate that would undermine the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This is just the latest chapter in the ongoing assault against the ESA by one of the most anti-wildlife Congresses we’ve seen in decades.

Here’s a quick run-down of the bills being considered, each of which carries the potential to weaken our nation’s landmark wildlife protection law.

  • H.R. 717 introduced by Representative Pete Olson (R-TX), would put financial cost considerations above species preservation. It would require decision-makers to first consider the economic costs of protecting an animal or plant being considered for listing, and it would remove deadlines for completing the listing process.
  • H.R. 1274 introduced by Representative Dan Newhouse (R-WA), would consider any information submitted by a state or local government to be the “best available” science even if that information is contradictory, out-of-date or fraudulent. This would be a significant departure from scientific integrity standards. This could have far-reaching consequences for the listing process of endangered species.
  • H.R. 3131 introduced by Representative Bill Huizenga (R-MI), would hamstring citizen enforcement and participation in the implementation of the ESA. It would restrict the ability of citizens to sue or hold the agency accountable and thereby leaving the listing of species prone to political interference. It would also prevent species from receiving timely protections.
  • H.R. 2603 introduced by Representative Louie Gohmert (R-TX), would eliminate the ESA’s protections for foreign species located in the United State, obstructing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS’s) ability to address illegal wildlife trafficking or issue permits for exhibitors of foreign endangered and threatened species. This would nullify the Obama Administration’s rule on African elephant ivory and undermine the FWS’s ability to reduce the U.S. role in the illicit ivory trade.
  • H.R. 424 introduced by Representative Collin Peterson (D-MN) and a bill in the Senate cynically called the “HELP for Wildlife Act” (S. 1514), would reinstate the 2011 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decision to delist gray wolves in the Great Lakes states and reaffirm the 2017 decision to return wolves in Wyoming to state management. The bills would also preclude any further judicial review on these decisions thereby undercutting citizen’s access to the courts. These bills not only interfere with the ESA’s science-based decision-making process, they also undermine the rule of law and harm all bills that rely on citizen participation.

These latest attacks in what has become an all-out war on the ESA by the current Congress—there have been over 160 legislative attacks against the ESA since January, 2015—serve as a dire warning for the road ahead for our most imperiled wildlife. We are facing what many scientists believe is the sixth mass extinction event in the Earth’s history. We cannot afford to let anti-wildlife interests in Congress tear down our most effective law at protecting species from the fate of extinction.

Stand with Defenders in fighting to protect the ESA and the threatened and endangered species whose only hope for a future on this planet depends on it.  If you care about wildlife and the Endangered Species Act, please call your Senators at (202) 224-3121 or submit your comments online and urge them to oppose the so-called “HELP for Wildlife Act.” Wolves and other imperiled wildlife are counting on you.

Follow us on social media to stay up-to-date on the status of gray wolf conservation and other developments important to wildlife and our work. Don’t forget to sign up for our emails where you will get all the latest news and action alerts to support wildlife.

Act Now to Defend the ESA!

Call on your senators to oppose the "HELP for Wildlife Act" that would abandon wolf recovery in the Great Lakes and bypass science in ESA decisions.

Call your Senators today! »

34 Responses to “ESA Under Attack on Capitol Hill”

  1. Donna Poore Shook

    I do not agree with congress when they keep putting more and more animals in danger. Endangered wildlife needs help. We must continue to keep our wildlife and earth protected. Please oppose the “Help for Wildlife Act”. When signing bills that actually do not help wildlife, but only hurt them, we have to act against it. Threatened and endangered species are counting on us to keep them alive. We are their only hope. So many environmental factors come into play, and many times, it is humans who cause wildlife to become endangered in the first place. Please help the ESA.

    • MaryAnn Murphy

      A Nations morality is reflected in the way that we care for our wildlife. If we let the ESA be weakened we have no moral compass. The GOP does not care if their children or grand kids see wildlife; they can`t care or they would not be proposing dropping protections, they would be expanding them.
      With all of the science we have it is clear cut as to what we need to do for the animals protected under the ESA.. Let us stand strong against these people and keep fighting for those without a voice!

    • Charlotte Smith

      Call email your senators! Protect the animals! We Are their voice!!

  2. John W. Parana

    We need to preserve and protect the Endangered Species Act!!

  3. Carolyn

    After all of our progress in protecting animals who cannot speak for themselves and the plants that support our ecosystem, we are going backwards. All so some people can exploit them and make money. It is a shame to watch the protections that both Republicans and Democrats have established over the years be stripped apart so easily.

  4. Susan Moorhead

    Please protect the ESA. I would like these animals to be around for my children to see.

  5. William Fazakerly

    The ESA has been misapplied too many times. I hope Congress does not over react to the situation, but it is time to bring other considerations into the process of adding species to the list. We all want to keep our California Condors, Bald Eagles, Sea Otters and many other endangered species with us. However, when we start rerouting rivers, uprooting farmers, and destroying private property without any consideration for the cost, and with little hope of success in protection of the species, things have gone WAY too far.

    • Elizabeth Davis

      What will you say to your children and grandchildr when they find out what happened to the rain. Forests and the wildlife that depended on it??? Will you tell them you sold out to the greed of money??? Will you let them know that you had a great chance to save all of that??? But you didn’t, instead you opted for $$$. What will you say when you see the look in their eyes of disappointment and discuss and shame for your dismisseled of lIves in your care? ???
      KEEP THE ESA INTACT .

  6. Joan Reynolds

    Just stop the cruelty. It is so crucial we protect and not abandoned the balance of nature and the plan of life for all creatures that our Lord made.

  7. Christine up vercellino

    Yes, please call your Senators and those who make these laws. It’s very easy and does make a difference! We are the voice of Wildlife, so we need to speak up. It is unfathomable to me what goes on in many of our State’s. Get informed about the cyanide programs in the West which kill countless animals. Most recently a boy was injured and his dog killed, as they place these bombs indescrinately . It’s truly unbelievable the suffering and needless killing of native wildlife.

    • Susan Durrenberger

      Christine, I already contacted Rep. Defasio from Oregon and he told me that he has originated a bill that will make all poisons,including the ones used on the dog that was killed, to be banned and that USDA has made it banned also. The poison is known by another name – Compound 1080. It is a very potent poison and causes agony and a prolonged death. The FWS should know better if they have administered that poison. The governor of Idaho ordered the deaths of wolves and he needs to adhere to ESA or a mass extinction will be on his head. He needs to resign from office due to his cruelty.

  8. Denise G

    How can congress be so stupid every plant every animal has a purpose, when you start removing from the ecosystem you create a domino affect. All has been put on this earth for a reason wake up people……

  9. Darla coppedge

    To hunt a species to extinction is illogical n not smart. Think of all the medicinal losses in the rain forests That have been lost. Possible cures for cancer etc. the study of our animals opens worlds of wisdom. To help us make a better world for our children. This is not an intelligent administration. They are a vengeful greedy group set on destroying anyone who stands in their way. Wildlife is standing in their way However, they didn’t count on our will to protect them. We’ll do what we can !

  10. Iris Owens

    It would be wonderful if our elected officials gave a little more thought to what is important to this planet such as our beautiful wildlife, our forests, our oceans and clean air. Instead, all they seem to think about is money and power. I don’t know how they sleep at night.

  11. Caroline

    These are God given gifts to the world. The bring beauty and add greatness to our lands. Don’t strip it so rich politicians can get richer. We the people count too. We love our country. We don’t want to live in a world that has become a wasteland chemical Pitt. We love our land with trees and clean water and beautiful birds and animals and clean air. You don’t really have the right to destroy it and take it away. A president looks out for tho good if his people not just to gain for his self. Not to destroy the beautiful God given earth and all the wildlife that dwell in it. Look out for us and all good natural things. Quit being selfish and evil. Quit being so hateful and destructive. Trump must be miserable like a spoiled child getting mad and wanting to break everything around him. He wants everything for his self.

  12. Adrienne

    This is just mean and vindictive, and there is no other way to describe it. This current administration and this current congress are working hard to dismantle any and all of the ecologically positive that were put into place recently, especially during the Obama years. From the appointments of Zinke and every other anti-science and scientifically-ignorant politician, Trump will continue to disrupt and destroy. And I thought I hated GWB!

  13. Mary Ann Fox

    It does no good to contact our senators or congressman. They have shown no interest in preserving our environment or endangered animals. I live in South Carolina and feel I have no legitimate representation at all! Senator Lindsey Graham has occasionally shown some independence, but the other two are complete yes men for the Trump administration, sadly. Very frustrating!

  14. Lucy Wolpin

    The anti-conservation stance of this congress is appalling.

  15. Marcia Kellam

    The ESA is a landmark part of the GOOD things in this country. We MUST preserve and protect our wildlife and wilderness!

  16. Selma Cooper

    Where at all possible since we are the custodians of our animal life and their lives, we must do everything possible (within reason) to keep them a healthy and long term part of our environment and world. I think we must be careful not to give priority always to humans as opposed to our fellow animals who many times need our assistance, since they cannot speak for themselves or attend Senate Meetings..

  17. Christine up vercellino

    Yes please call your Senators and it’s very fast and easy and best of all makes,a difference when they hear from their constituents who vote! ! This is the venue to change by communicating to the people who have the power to make those changes. The animals need us now more than ever.

    What’s going in I’m our country is unfathomable.
    Please get informed about the secretive Wildlife program that we as tax payers fund. Countless animals are killed each year with cyanide, trapping etc. Tremendous suffering and death for our native wildlife.

    Most recently a boy was injured and his dog killed in Idaho.

  18. Christine vercellino

    Yes please call your Senators and it’s very fast and easy and best of all makes,a difference when they hear from their constituents who vote! ! This is the venue to change by communicating to the people who have the power to make those changes. The animals need us now more than ever.

    What’s going in I’m our country is unfathomable.
    Please get informed about the secretive Wildlife program that we as tax payers fund. Countless animals are killed each year with cyanide, trapping etc. Tremendous suffering and death for our native wildlife.

    Most recently a boy was injured and his dog killed in Idaho.

  19. Anthony Wong

    After all of our progress in protecting animals who cannot speak for themselves and the plants that support our ecosystem, we are going backwards. All so some people can exploit them and make money. It is a shame to watch the protections that both Republicans and Democrats have established over the years be stripped apart so easily. We need to preserve and protect the Endangered Species Act!!

  20. Shelley Wyndham

    Get politics OUT of the arena, regarding how Wolves, wildlife and the environment are treated / regarded. Leave these ESSENTIAL animals and places ALONE. The inhumanity in all of this NEEDS TO BE DEALT WITH. ESA IS absolutely vital. We, as humanity, can not thrive let alone survive, if there is no Natural World and its wildlife. Balance is essential. Make America great by protecting the Wolves, wildlife, the Natural World which ultimately balances overall life for us all on this planet, we ALL call home. ESA must be protected, and must remain.

  21. Kristina Doyle

    Please protect the ESA. We are stewards, not gods. All life is interconnected; by destroying other species and their homes, we participate in our own destruction.

  22. Margaret Kelso

    Killing off our wildlife is wrong. They have families of their own. Kill all wildlife humans will die too.

  23. Paula Powers

    all life is precious and none can be replaced. Stop pandering to ranchers, developers, miners, loggers, any group that diminishes our natural resources for profit to themselves. Wildlife has a place, endangered wildlife needs to be protected. All life is interconnected, losing one affects all.

You May also be interested in