This week’s Take Action Thursday urges action to oppose federal legislation and regulations that remove protections for threatened animal species.
Attacks on the protections offered for threatened and endangered species by the Endangered Species Act (ESA) have proliferated in recent years. But 2018 has thus far been a record year in terms of efforts to strip protections away from animals in the United States. Please make your voice heard before it is too late for the survival of animals facing extinction.
Numerous pieces of legislation that would amend the ESA in numerous detrimental ways are currently under consideration on Capitol Hill. These bills would:
- allow the federal government to outsource the protection of endangered and threatened species;
- shift ESA enforcement and protection responsibilities from the federal government to states, tribes and local governments;
- remove protections of species by labeling some harm to animals as being merely “incidental”; and
- undermine the authority of scientists in making decisions regarding the listing of species.
The ESA is one of the most successful laws adopted in the U.S. It does not need to be changed at the risk of endangering countless species across the country and removing the protections that have been the basis of that success.
Please, once again, ask your U.S. Representative to oppose any efforts to weaken the protections provided by the Endangered Species Act.
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On July 19, three separate changes were proposed to federal regulations that would lessen the protections to animals under the Endangered Species Act.
The proposed changes would:
- allow authorities to consider the economic impact of protecting endangered and threatened species in their decisions on whether to safeguard animals and their habitats, giving corporate interests influence over this process; allow consideration of “prudence” (in other words, “politics”) as a factor in determining habitat protection, and re-evaluate whether each species is a separate species requiring protection.
- remove habitat protection for threatened species, instead making decisions on how to protect each threatened species on a case-by-case basis;
- eliminate the need for independent consultation on habitat where it would be “impractical” and where the costs would be a burden; and remove protections for threatened species that have been historically extended to both endangered and threatened species to prevent the decline of threatened animals into endangered status.
Hundreds of species, including the American Bald Eagle, have been preserved from extinction due to the good work of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the ESA. Unfortunately, it is clear that the interests of ranchers, miners and real estate developers have more importance to administrators than that of animals whose lives are dependent on the protections of the Endangered Species Act.
While the American Bald Eagle is no longer listed as an endangered species, there are hundreds of other species that still urgently need federal protection. We must oppose efforts to dilute protections given to animals so that many more success stories are possible.
Please let Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke know that you support the good work done to protect animals through the ESA and that you strongly oppose efforts to undermine this objective through the proposed rules.
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