Republicans: Stop Trying to Weaken the Endangered Species Act in the face of the sixth mass extinction

  • by: Brianna L
  • recipient: Republican members of Congress

Our planet is currently in the midst of a sixth mass extinction and we are losing species at the greatest rate since the loss of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. Although extinction is a natural phenomenon on earth, we are the cause of this sixth mass extinction. Humans have had a tremendous deleterious effect on the planet through climate change, habitat degradation, pollution and poaching.

Researchers estimate that species are becoming extinct 1,000 times higher than the natural background rate without human intervention. This number is only projected to get worse. Future rates of extinction may be up to 10,000 times the background rate.

A study of 177 mammals found that over 40% of species have experienced severe population declines and labeled the sixth mass extinction as a "biological annihilation". Beloved species such as tigers, black rhinos and orangutans may soon be gone forever.

In the face of the mass extinction, Republicans have somehow been working to weaken the Endangered Species Act, a landmark United States law that protects threatened and endangered species.

Since 2011, 308 bills have been introduced into Congress to weaken the Endangered Species Act including bills to prohibit non-US native species from being listed, allowing economic costs of endangered species conservation be considered in listing decisions and requiring congressional approval before species are listed. Over 90% of the anti-endangered species bills have been introduced by Republicans, according to the Center for Biological Diversity.

We respectfully urge Republicans to work to protect endangered species, instead of deregulating their protections, as we continue to face the sixth mass extinction. Republicans should refuse to support bills that:

  • automatically delist species after a time period
  • consider the economic costs of species conservation
  • strip protections away from threatened species
  • delist non-US native species
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