Tell Congress: Don't Gut the Endangered Species Act!

Big industry has launched  an “all-out assault” on endangered species and the environment, says Pennsylvania Representative Steve McCarter. What began on the state level has boomeranged to influence federal legislation, which in turn could affect other states.

Introduced by Tea Party leaders in Congress, Senate Bill 1731 would gut the federal Endangered Species Act of 1973. Leaders concerned about protecting biological diversity say the bill would remove scientists from the decision-making process and put politicians in control.

Most disturbing is that the bill would remove all protected species from the list every five years.

Though the federal bill is not expected to pass right away, it sends the message that states should introduce their own legislation, as PA has done already in an attempt to pave the way for more oil, coal and gas development there.

Clearly the Senate is sending the wrong message - one that threatens our most vulnerable plants and animals.

Tell Congress: Don’t gut the Endangered Species Act!

We, the undersigned, oppose any attempt by Congress to weaken the Endangered Species Act or to send a message that states should do the same.

Pennsylvania’s Endangered Species Coordination Act has already cleared that state’s House Game and Fisheries Committee, and State Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati has introduced his own bill with similar intent.

Even though Representative Jeff Pyle, who introduced the PA bill, claims science would not be removed from the decision-making process, he admitted to news sources that experts’ recommendations for species protection would have to undergo an extra level of scrutiny, and that “proof” would be required.

One problem is that proof can be very costly, and if advocates can’t raise the funds to prove what the bill requires, the animals, the environment and the rest of us could end up paying the costs.

It’s no surprise that those backing the PA bill include the PA Chamber of Commerce, The PA Builder’s Association, The Marcellus Shale Coalition, the state’s Independent Oil and Gas Association and the Associated Petroleum Industries of Pennsylvania.

The Doylestown Intelligencer reports that not only environmentalists, but sportsmen groups are also concerned that changes to current laws could “threaten the state’s most vulnerable animals, fish and plants in an attempt to clear the way for big oil, coal and gas companies to grow or move into the state.”

If Congress is going to set an example or send a message to the states, it should be the right message.

We request that the Senate kill Bill 1731 and that Congress not do anything to weaken or threaten the Endangered Species Act of 1973.
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