The Endangered species Act (ESA) has not only protected some of North America's most iconic species like the bald eagle and gray wolf. It also safeguards imperiled foreign species like chimpanzees, tigers, and elephants.
The ESA has successfully saved more than 99% of listed species from extinction. But right now, Congress is trying to tear down the ESA brick by brick using a number of bills they are trying to pass off as "reforms."
In particular, the fraudulently named "Saving America's Endangered Species Act" would irreparably damage conservation efforts by stripping ESA protections for foreign species, like lions, rhinos, cheetahs, giant pandas and hundreds more, including some being considered for protections right now like giraffes and pangolins.
This legislation would also obstruct the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's ability to regulate wildlife trafficking and undermine its role in issuing permits for trophy hunters and exhibitors of foreign endangered and threatened species.
Simply put, this bill is a blatant giveaway to trophy hunters and wildlife traffickers that's disguised as a conservation measure.
Other "reform" bills target gray wolves, undermine the scientific process behind the ESA, hurt citizens' ability to enforce the ESA, and more. Taken together, these bills would greatly weaken the foundation that protects the world's most imperiled wildlife.
90% of Americans support the ESA. It is the United States' most effective wildlife protection law; we need to strengthen it, not tear it apart. Our legislators work for us – they must do their jobs and protect the ESA and save endangered wildlife.
Tell your member of Congress to stand up for wildlife and oppose the deceptive "Saving America's Endangered Species Act" and any bills that would undermine the Endangered Species Act.
Subject: Oppose these bills to undermine the Endangered Species Act.
I am writing to ask for your help in saving the Endangered Species Act (ESA) from misguided and harmful "reform" efforts. At a hearing on July 19 before the House Committee on Natural Resources, we saw a harbinger of what “reform” means, and it is incredibly alarming: these bills (H.R. 2603, H.R. 424, H.R. 717, H.R. 1274 and H.R. 3131) would undermine fundamental elements of the ESA and make it much harder for science to guide conservation. The ESA is the United States' most effective wildlife protection law; we need to strengthen it, not tear it apart.
H.R. 2603 ("Saving America’s Endangered Species Act") strips ESA protections for foreign species, including chimpanzees, tigers, elephants, cheetahs, giant pandas and hundreds more. The legislation would obstruct the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s ability to regulate wildlife trafficking and undermine its role in issuing permits for trophy hunters and exhibitors of foreign endangered and threatened species. Despite this bill’s misleading name, this H.R. 2603 would do nothing to conserve American species – it would only harm some of the most severely endangered wildlife in the world and contribute to the decline of foreign species on the brink of extinction.
H.R. 424 ("Gray Wolf State Management Act") blocks federal ESA protections for gray wolves in Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Wyoming. This bill – which would be more aptly named the "War on Wolves Act" – would end ESA safeguards for wolves in the Great Lakes region while precluding protection for Wyoming’s wolves., and would prohibit future judicial review of those designations. These provisions run counter to the ESA's science-based decision-making process and undermine the rule of law and citizens' access to the courts more broadly.
H.R. 717 ("Listing Reform Act") puts a price on conservation by allowing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to avoid granting “threatened” species protections if those come with economic impacts. It would also completely gut the citizen petition process for listing species by making agency deadlines a thing of the past. The ESA was written to ensure that listing decisions are based on the best available science – not politics. This bill would make politics rule the day.
H.R. 1274 ("State, Tribal, and Local Species Transparency and Recovery Act") subverts the ESA's science-based listing process by allowing any information provided by states, tribes, or counties to constitute "best available science," a clear degradation of longtime standards. H.R. 1274 also directs the federal government to utilize state and local data in its listing decisions, regardless of whether the data is based in science. H.R. 1274 is not only contradictory, but duplicative, and is built upon a false narrative of iron-fisted federal control: In fact, under the ESA, the federal government already works extensively with the states, considers state and local data when making listing decisions, and notifies affected states of proposed listing determinations.
H.R. 3131 ("Endangered Species Litigation Reasonableness Act") damages citizen engagement and enforcement of the ESA by weakening citizens’ ability to obtain counsel and challenge illegal government actions. Under H.R. 3131, people who successfully challenge illegal government actions under the ESA would be subject to fee recovery restrictions that could make it difficult for them to obtain counsel. This, in turn, would make it easier for governmental officials to violate the law with impunity.
Please protect the Endangered Species Act, our nation's most effective and important law for species conservation, by opposing H.R. 424, H.R. 717, H.R. 1274, H.R. 2603, and H.R. 3131.