Thanks to the Endangered Species Act, which has been in place for 45 years, irreplaceable wildlife like bald eagles, leatherback sea turtles, the Florida manatee, and grizzly bears have been saved from the brink of extinction. In Wyoming, grizzly bears are under threat from trophy hunting, but that has not stopped Senator John Barrasso (R – Wyoming) from proposing legislation that would overturn federal protections under the Endangered Species Act and give authority to individual states instead. Wildlife conservationists are outraged at this attempt to overturn such valuable legislation that is all for the sake of special interests.
According to the environmental law nonprofit Earthjustice, they anticipated such a notion from Barrasso over a year ago, and they pointed out that Barrasso has accepted significant campaign contributions from extractive industries that want to drill or mine land that is protected as wildlife habitat. As Earthjustice notes, from 2011-2016, Barrasso received a hefty sum of $458,466 in total campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry and $241,706 from the mining industry.
As Earthjustice explains, the Endangered Species Act “is a law of last resort” when individual states are unable to sufficiently protect species and prevent extinction. They also note, “The legislation would also undermine citizens’ ability to go to court and help ensure that the Endangered Species Act is properly implemented and enforced.”
Marjorie Mulhall, Earthjustice’s Legislative Director for Lands, Wildlife, and Oceans, had this to say in regards to this proposed legislation: “The Endangered Species Act is our nation’s most effective law for protecting wildlife in danger of extinction. It has prevented 99 percent of species under its care from going extinct, including our national symbol, the bald eagle. Yet here, just ahead of the Fourth of July, Senator Barrasso has released a bill that would severely undermine our nation’s commitment to protecting wildlife. Rather than working to undercut a law that works, Congress should fully fund recovery efforts for endangered species.”
If you would like to ensure the best protection possible for our great nation’s native flora and fauna, then please take a moment to sign this Care2 petition here.
And please remember to share this with your friends and family and encourage them to join you in speaking up for our American wildlife and habitats this Independence Day and beyond!
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