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House Republicans Launch Effort to Repeal Endangered Species Act
Infrastructure Project 'Impediments' Latest Fraudulent Claim to Rationalize Attack
WASHINGTON, March 27, 2017 — The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will hold a hearing tomorrow in its first effort of the new Congress to repeal the Endangered Species Act.
Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho), a member of the right-wing House Freedom Caucus, will chair the hearing, which purportedly will examine how the Endangered Species Act allegedly impedes the completion of infrastructure projects — a blatant falsehood.
“The Endangered Species Act rarely stops infrastructure projects outright. What it does do is require reasonable modifications to stop more species from going extinct, as the passenger pigeon or ivory-billed woodpecker did,” said Stephanie Kurose, an endangered species policy specialist at the Center for Biological Diversity. “These relentless attacks are out of touch with the overwhelming majority of Americans, who support this landmark law because it has prevented the extinction of bald eagles, gray whales and many other species we cherish. This hearing is nothing more than a kangaroo court.”
The Endangered Species Act has saved more than 99 percent of species under its protection from extinction and put hundreds more on the road to recovery, despite its increasingly starved budget.
Scientists estimate that without the Act, 227 species would have gone extinct by 2006. In contrast 44 species have gone extinct while waiting for protection under the Act — delays caused most often by inadequate funding from Congress.
Since Republicans retook the House of Representatives in January 2011, they have launched more than 233 legislative attacks on endangered species. In just the past two years, congressional Republicans have introduced more than 135 separate pieces of legislation and amendments designed to eliminate protections for endangered species or weaken the Act itself. The 115th Congress has introduced 20 attacks on the Act since January — averaging one bill every four days.
Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), who chairs the House Committee on Natural Resources, stated publicly in December his goal was to invalidate the Endangered Species Act in its entirety.
That’s despite the fact that 9 out of 10 Americans want the Endangered Species Act strengthened or left alone, according to a 2015 poll.
“This hearing is straight out of the right-wing playbook. First, starve the federal government of money and complain that the government doesn't work — then gut environmental safeguards,” said Kurose.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.2 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.
Center for Biological Diversity