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ASSAULT on

Wildlife
The Endangered Species Act
Under Attack
september 2011

DEFENDERS OF WILDLIFE
Defenders of Wildlife is a national, nonprofit membership
organization dedicated to the protection of all native wild animals
and plants in their natural communities.

Rodger Schlickeisen, President and CEO
Jamie Rappaport Clark, President- and CEO-designate

RESEARCH TEAM
Alexandra Adams
Mary Beth Beetham
Robert Dewey
Ya-Wei Li
Hannah Walter

EDITORIAL TEAM
Writer/Editor: Mark Cheater
Project Manager: John Motsinger
Publications Director: Kate Davies
Photo Editor: Charles Kogod
Art Director: Jen Lee
Print Production: Peter Corcoran

© 2011 Defenders of Wildlife
1130 17th Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036-4604
202.682.9400

Cover photo: A bald eagle soaring in the skies over our country is dramatic
evidence of the success of the Endangered Species Act. © Pam Mullins

Right: The West Indian manatee is one of hundreds of imperiled creatures
that depends on the safeguards provided by the Endangered Species Act.
© Joel Sartore/joelsartore.com

ASSAULT
on Wildlife
The Endangered Species Act Under Attack
september 2011

.......................................28 Appendix II: Letter From Former Directors of the U.. 1251: More Water for Our Valley Act........ 20 Amendments to Block Listing of the Sand Dune Lizard ........ 838: Western Great Lakes Wolf Management Act..................5 SECTION I: THE ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT UNDER ATTACK History and Success of the ESA................section 1: The endangered species act under attack Contents Foreword............................................................R.................................................................. 1806: Bluefin Tuna Fishermen Employment Preservation Act......... 1505: The National Security and Federal Lands Protection Act.....................R......... 706: 3-D... 29 MEXICAN WOLF © JOEL SARTORE/JOELSARTORE.11 Support for the Act..R.......................................3 Executive Summary...... 1819: State Wildlife Management Act.............................22 H...................................................... 7 Current Attacks on the ESA...........................................................R............................. 1837: San Joaquin Valley Water Reliability Act and H......... 18 H.... 12 H................................................................... 2011..................R........... Domestic Energy. 26 Appendix 1: Bankrolling Anti-Endangered Species Act Legislation.................... 19 Amendments to Block Listing of the Lesser Prairie Chicken ...........R.......... 6 Why Save Species?......................................................................................... 8 Immediacy of Threats............................................................... 9 Drawing a Line in the Sand............................ Fish and Wildlife Service. 13 Amendment to End Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Efforts.....................16 H...................................... 14 Rider in FY 2012 Interior Appropriations Bill to Exempt Wolf Delisting from Judicial Review....................R......R............................... 21 SECTION IV: SWEEPING HARMFUL AMENDMENTS H.......................................................................................... 15 SECTION III: BLOCKING VITAL PROTECTIONS H............................................................................... and Deficit Reduction Act of 2011................S..... 1042: Discredit Eternal Listing Inequality of Species Takings Act (DELIST Act)......... 8 Common Dangers...................24 Rider in House FY 2012 Interior Appropriations Bill to Prohibit ESA Pesticide Consultations...COM 2 ASSAULT ON WILDLIFE: The Endangered Species Act Under Attack ................ 1287 and S.........................................11 SECTION II: TARGETING IMPERILED WOLVES H..... Domestic Jobs....................

For decades. I am reminded of the importance of our nation’s commitment to good stewardship and are ready to collective conservation mission when I pursue my greatest give up on preserving the amazing diversity of plants and passion: being a mom to my 12-year-old son.tors will be working behind closed doors to finalize a gered Species Act—our nation’s most forward-thinking and comprehensive federal spending bill. Without a groundswell of public support. Not only has it recov.and the western Great Lakes. three of my fellow former directors of the Fish and Wildlife Service. some in Congress are willing to go backwards on our Every day. But we’re under States. wiping able to get the provision removed from out the species across much of the United the appropriations bill.” The extinction rider would have President-designate. while others single out species have enjoyed. I spent a summer in college work. peregrine falcons were in Fortunately. helping the species take its © KRISTA SCHLYER/DEFENDERS OF WILDLIFE a separate vote against the Endangered first steps on the road to recovery. Sincerely. Foreword W hen I began my career plants and animals—perhaps the single almost 30 years ago. members of been slowly poisoned by the widespread Congress on both sides of the aisle were use of the harmful pesticide DDT. a dozen bills or legislative proposals to undermine the We need to hold ourselves accountable and remember that Endangered Species Act. Defenders of Wildlife blocked life-saving protections for hundreds of imperiled Former Director of the U. Fish and Wildlife Service (1997-2001) www.org 3 . the the species themselves—is in serious danger of suffering a California condor and the Florida manatee.S. ones that served under both Republican and Democratic administrations.anti-ESA proposals could become law before the end of ered creatures such as the peregrine falcon. releasing In fact. All of them run afoul mine and yours.” of core American values that have guided successful wildlife conservation efforts for nearly four decades. bald eagle. the law whale and brown pelican. New York. agement of Defenders’ staff and tens these swift and powerful birds of prey had of thousands of activists. death by a thousand cuts.defenders. tor of the U. Unfortunately. I never Species Act to prevent any legal chal- would have dreamed that nearly 20 years later. I am sobered animals for our children and grandchildren. which means many effective wildlife conservation law. On July 25. the House cast into the wild. When Congress resumes its business this fall. Fish and Wildlife Service. joined me in signing a letter (see Appendix II) decrying a provision in the Interior Department Appropriations bill known as Jamie Rappaport Clark the “extinction rider. Ornithology in Ithaca. gray the year. no illusion that Congress is willing to ing with the Cornell University Lab of make a habit of standing up for wildlife. Some of them chip away at the those coming behind us deserve the same riches that we foundation of the act itself. by the notion that our generation will pass on a poorer So far. We owe at least that much to all our kids— deemed unworthy of our protection. with the active encour- dire straits. the current Congress has introduced more than environment to our children than the one we inherited. greatest excess of this Congress thus far. including the black-footed ferret. just a few hours after the extinc- captive-bred peregrine falcon chicks back tion rider was defeated. I would be lenges to future delistings of gray wolves in Wyoming announcing the full recovery of peregrine falcons as direc. legisla- That incredible success was a direct result of the Endan. but it has brought back from the protecting America’s endangered species—and therefore brink many more.S.

Rep. Resources Committee.) ESA.) Appropriations Bill House Interior Appropriations bill. Frank Guinta HR 1806: Bluefin Tuna Amend ESA so bluefin tuna can not be treated as Pending in House Natural (R-N. Ken Calvert Rider to FY12 Interior Prohibit EPA from using funds to modify. emergencies. cancel or Included in FY12 House Interior (R-Calif. Resources Committee.M. Space.) and Randy Amendment to FY12 Interior Proposed for inclusion in FY12 Neugebauer Appropriations Bill House Interior Appropriations bill.M. Steve Pearce Amendment to FY12 Interior Proposed for inclusion in FY12 (R-N. Rep. John Cornyn Amendment #397 to S782 Prevent U. Fish and Wildlife Service from extending Filed in Senate but not offered.M. Steve Pearce (R-N. Takings Act populations have not improved. (R-Texas) Economic Revitalization Act of ESA protections to sand dune lizards.H.) Appropriations bill wolves in 10 states (Wyoming and the nine states in Appropriations bill.) Water Reliability Act Chinook salmon. Cynthia Lummis Rider to FY12 Interior Prevent citizens from challenging future delisting of gray Included in FY12 House Interior (R-Wyo.) Appropriations bill suspend registration of pesticides in response to ESA Appropriations bill. Devin Nunes HR 1837: San Joaquin Valley Roll back protections for the endangered Delta smelt. Pending in House Natural (R-Mich. Rep. (R-Texas) Sen. and Sen. Prevent federal and state agencies from ensuring Pending in House Natural (R-Utah) Domestic Energy. Fish and Wildlife Service from extending Filed in Senate but not offered. biological opinions. Energy and Reduction Act of 2011 life-sustaining supplies of water. David Vitter of impacts of greenhouse gases when implementing Technology. steelhead and green sturgeon in Resources Committee. House Interior Appropriations bill Rep. Science. and Transportation (R-La. California’s Bay-Delta region. (R-Okla.The Legislative Assault on the Endangered Species Act Sponsor Legislation Intent Status Rep. Pending in House Natural (R-Minn. Rep. 2011 Reps. Rep. western Great Lakes area). Judiciary. weaker standards and preempt stricter state laws governing water projects. 4 ASSAULT ON WILDLIFE: The Endangered Species Act Under Attack .S.S. prohibit consideration Commerce. Rep.) Wolf Management Act Wisconsin and Michigan.S. Rep. Rep. Pending in House in Natural (R-Calif.) continuing resolution and FY12 and Arizona. Jim Costa HR 1251: More Water For Our Replace science-based measures taken under ESA Pending in House Natural (D-Calif.) Economic Revitalization Act of ESA protections to lesser prairie chickens. Rob Bishop HR 1505: The National Security Exempt Homeland Security from ESA and other Pending in House Natural (R-Utah) and Federal Lands Protection Act environmental laws within 100 miles of U. House Interior Appropriations bill. Rob Bishop HR 1287/S706: Domestic Jobs. Joe Baca HR 1042: Discredit Eternal Amend ESA so that rare species listed as endangered Pending in House Natural (D-Calif. and Deficit that fish and wildlife in California’s Bay-Delta receive Resources. Candice Miller HR 1819: State Wildlife Eliminate ESA protections for wolves. John Kline HR 838:Western Great Lakes Prohibit ESA protection for wolves in Minnesota.) Valley Act to protect wildlife in California’s Bay-Delta region with Resources Committee. James Inhofe Amendment #429 to S782: Prevent U. borders. Preservation Act Sen.) Fishermen Employment endangered or threatened species. Steve Pearce Amendments to FY11 House End Mexican gray wolf recovery efforts in New Mexico Proposed for inclusion in FY12 (R-N. Rep. 2011 Rep. and lift ESA compliance during state-declared and Infrastructure committees. Placed on Senate legislative calendar.) Listing Inequality of Species for 15 or more years must be considered extinct if Resources Committee.) Management Act Resources Committee. Resources Committee.

gray wolves and grizzly fish from extinction. of extinction. Concerned citizens.defenders. plants and to the skies. it’s too late. Americans agree on the importance of preserving our The Endangered Species Act was passed nearly 40 nation’s rich and unique natural heritage: 92 percent years ago with strong bipartisan support. air and water pollu. rivers and oceans. wildlife champions in Congress tors. More fundamentally.9 million tion. It happened with the wolf delisting rider From barring protections for particular species to this spring. assaults and continue the fight for our nation’s imperiled only a handful of the species receiving protection under wildlife and the law that protects them. To make matters worse. Florida manatees and gray whales continue to grace and the Obama administration must stand up to these our swamps. We must see the act have gone extinct. In many instances. the true motivation for conservation legacy for our children and grandchildren. this Congress should not abandon core American values legislative assault—summarized in the opposite chart— in favor of big businesses that see opportunity in the strikes at the foundation of the law and thus our coun. in campaign contributions from Big Oil and agribusi- Now we can add to that list the most immediate and nesses alone. The sponsors of the anti-ESA from toxic pesticides. forward-thinking environ- the progress that has been made to restore endangered mental laws ever enacted—and preserves America’s great species. In the decades since. www. Executive Summary A merica’s native plants and animals are in this assault appears to be to support the interests of serious trouble. we’ve which animals need protection should be made by witnessed some of history’s most incredible comebacks. bald eagles. A recent poll shows that most life for the benefit of future generations of Americans. and it could happen again. They’re already under threat particular big businesses. bears are keeping prey species in check. bills have collectively taken in more than $5. Florida panthers. and 87 percent agree that the ESA is a California condors and peregrine falcons are still taking successful safety net for protecting wildlife. becoming the subject of back- the Endangered Species Act and its ability to protect our room negotiations that never face public scrutiny until nation’s imperiled wildlife. sweeping changes to how the law can be applied. Because of the act. not politicians. loss of habitat and global warming. scientists. American alliga.org 5 . that Congress upholds the Endangered Species Act— Yet Congress is poised this fall to undo much of one of the most successful. 90 percent agree that the ESA Animals that were once on the verge of disappearing has helped hundreds of species recover from the brink forever are thriving again. many of the serious threat of them all: Congressional attack in the provisions are likely to get rolled into larger spending form of 13 different provisions that would undermine bills as policy riders. anti-government sentiments currently espoused by a try’s great commitment to preserving the entire web of small but vocal minority. and was signed agree that decisions about wildlife management and into law by President Nixon.

1973. the bald eagle—the nation’s symbol—was and provides numerous direct and indirect economic benefits. success- ful and popular conservation laws—the Endangered Species Act (ESA)—is under siege.” he noted in his signing statement short supply. had been eliminated to be to support the interests of particular big businesses. proponents of these piecemeal attacks on endangered species have vigorously pursued them and. found in the contiguous states. These payments suggest that big businesses see But a strong. who.9 million in campaign contributions from Big Oil manatees. In the current Congress. which once In many instances. they will eviscerate one of our nation’s strongest conser- vation laws. The gray wolf. and are lining heritage by passing the ESA in 1973. Sea turtles. black-footed ferrets and other and agribusinesses alone (see Appendix 1: Bankrolling Anti-ESA creatures also seemed destined for eradication. The act was signed into up their congressional allies to do their bidding. to scholars. of revitalizing the economy or “streamlining” regulations or reducing the size of government—even though the ESA is History and success of the ESA already one of the most flexible and transparent federal laws In the early 1970s. The endangered species act Section I under attack O ne of our nation’s most significant. and nature lovers alike. leaving our children and grandchildren with an impoverished natural world. and it forms a 6 ASSAULT ON WILDLIFE: The Endangered Species Act Under Attack . “Nothing is more priceless and more worthy of introduced in such a short period of time. in many cases. the House Natural Resources Committee has announced plans to begin reauthorizing the ESA. As of the August 2011 congressional recess. Several species of whales were The sponsors of the anti-ESA bills have collectively taken in perilously close to extinction. although not considered Congressional attacks on environmental legislation in an environmentalist. Despite nearly four decades of accomplish- ments under the ESA and overwhelming public support for it. law by President Richard Nixon. on the verge of disappearing. Those from more than 99 percent of its former habitat in the lower businesses have given significant campaign contributions to 48 states. of value the risks to the act have never been greater. This fall’s closed-door process of developing a comprehensive federal spending bill maximizes the risk that these publicly unpopular anti-wildlife proposals will become law. As a result. “It is a many-faceted treasure. If they do. sary for anti-conservation forces to succeed is. on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. bipartisan majority in both houses of an unusual opportunity in the anti-government sentiments Congress responded in that dark hour for our nation’s wild currently espoused by a small but vocal minority. scientists. And never has preservation than the rich array of animal life with which our national conservation leadership and courage been in such country has been blessed. Only a few hundred grizzly bears could still be the sponsors of anti-ESA bills benefiting those same backers. 13 bills or legislative proposals are pending that would undercut or dramatically weaken the ESA. nonetheless recognized the importance of general—and the ESA in particular—are not new. some members of Congress are making an orchestrated and unprecedented attempt to undermine the foundations of the law. These legislative attacks—which range from blocking protections for particular species to discarding the expert opinions of top scientists—put our imperiled plants and animals. to paraphrase Many of these attacks are being promoted under the guise Edmund Burke. But we have protecting our natural legacy and passing it on intact to future never seen so many different anti-ESA bills or amendments generations. Legislation). more than $5. the true motivation for this assault appears roamed from Mexico to the Arctic. In addition. All that is neces. brown pelicans. California condors. already attempted to add their damaging proposals to various unrelated bills. public lands and other natural resources in serious jeopardy. for good men and women to do nothing. on December 28.

2009. “Are we in the midst of the sixth mass extinction? A view from the world of amphibians. December 28. and so United States. climate capital. et al. Mittermeier. United States of America. More than one-third of the more than 6. The State of the Birds. It has proved instrumental in saving hundreds on. air and water pollution. than 99 percent1. USA.” Nature. extinction crisis facing our planet. At its core. control floods. our survival as a species depends on the health of the planet’s ecosystems. U. 387:253-260. Environmental Conservation Online System. provide oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide. R.S. Harvard animal life with biologist E. E. More than 30 percent of the “Nothing is more 800 species of birds in the priceless and country are of conservation concern4. 2005. the black-footed ferret and many other species. Wake.000 known species of amphibians are at risk of disappearing3. Committee. but one economist has estimated it at $33 trillion which was removed from the endangered species list in 2007 per year7. 2009. T. 3. act have gone extinct during that time—a success rate of more 2.000 breeding pairs. the spread of invasive species. prevent erosion. “Conservation status of imperiled North American responsible stewardship—a recognition of our duty to preserve freshwater and diadromous fishes. 1973 century given current rates of habitat disruption by humans. B. Humans rely on plant and animal species not only to provide us food and sustenance directly. U. New York. et al.000 times the natural rate of extinc- tion2.. BEAR © TAMMY SHELTON. preservation than Almost 50 percent of the the rich array of world’s primate species are in danger6. but also the grizzly bear. the ESA has been the water.S. and V. 2008. VA. pollinate crops. accessed July 31. the ESA represents America’s commitment to 5. et al.do. U. Why save species? 4. Fish and Wildlife Service. This moral imperative 6. www. FERRET (CAPTIVE) © JOEL SARTORE/JOELSARTORE. Vredenburg. 2011. Primates in Peril: The World’s 25 Most has become increasingly urgent as evidence has mounted of the Endangered Primates 2008–2010. Delist- nearly 2..gov/tess_public/DelistingReport. Costanza. one which our country of the world’s pre-eminent scholars on biodiversity. Endangered plants and animals may also hold the after its numbers in the continental United States rebounded to keys to breakthroughs in the treatments of deadly diseases. R.. Alfred A. Wilson. Nearly 40 percent more worthy of of North America’s fish species are imperiled5. “The value of the world’s ecosystem services and natural changes—habitat destruction and fragmentation. D. A.” Fisheries 33(8): 372–407. The total value of these ‘ecosystem services’ is difficult to of species from extinction—not only the iconic bald eagle.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 105: 11466–11473.defenders. 10. O. Grizzly bears in the Northern Rockies (previous page) and black-footed ferrets (above) have both benefited The extinction crisis is more than just of academic interest. 2008.. Knopf.” estimated that half of all —President Richard Nixon species worldwide are likely Signing statement for the Endangered to go extinct in the next Species Act. Jelks. enormously from the safeguards provided by the ESA. our native wildlife for future generations. Because of human-caused 7. measure. Wilson. over-fishing and the like—the Earth is suffering the worst period of species loss since the disappearance of dinosaurs 65 million years ago. Only 10 out of 1.O. the gray wolf. Department of Interior: Washington. (eds. New York. has has been blessed.).org 7 . International Primatological Society and Conservation International. 2009. North American Bird Conservation Initiative.COM change. enrich our cornerstone of imperiled wildlife and plant conservation in the soil. IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group. J. Scientists estimate we are currently losing species at as much as 10. The Future of Life. Arlington. DC.” of other services crucial to our survival: helping to clean our For nearly four decades since then.S. 1997.000 imperiled plants and animals protected under the ing report at http://ecos.fws. H. but for a variety vital part of the heritage we all share as Americans.

“Wildlife-associated Recreation on the New The current spate of attacks on the ESA is coming from Jersey Delaware Bay Shore.. second. a number of proposals would override science-based biological Examples of species that have already provided important opinions developed by the U.” New Jersey Fish. Sept.” University of Montana. 2006 National Survey of Fishing. Census Bureau. U. support our economy. trying to falsely cast the act as an impediment to economic development or national security. Stoll.. On the East Coast. Final Report for Current attacks on the ESA Yellowstone Park Foundation. D. the sap of which contains substances that or threatened species. C. Neher. Americans spend billions of These legislative attacks would displace science as the central dollars on hunting. the U. J.S. Instead. For the whims of certain elected officials. Fish and Wildlife Service or contributions to medicine include the Pacific yew tree. U. the authors of these bills focus on the supposed “costs” to society of saving rare and imperiled plants and wildlife. Each year. Game. but they fall broadly into three main categories: First. Oil and gas companies. and Patterson. the Mada. legislation that would remove ESA protections and terminate recovery efforts for imperiled wolves. from which the determinations about the likely impacts of proposed agency promising anti-AIDS drug Prostratin was isolated. bills that would block ESA listings for new species. not by politicians whose principal concern is their million to $20 million in economic impact for Delaware Bay own re-election. These birders generate a total of $12 sionals. Nationwide. visitors who come to Yellowstone National Park to Another blow to the act’s integrity that would be struck view gray wolves restored by the ESA spend an estimated $35 by these bills is that of taking decisions out of the hands of million each year8. and Wildlife-Associated Recreation. and Kerlinger. 8. many of these attackers are backed by large corporate interests that stand to profit from a diminished ESA. Decisions about how birders travel to the Delaware Bay each spring to catch a to protect and recover imperiled animals and plants should be glimpse of imperiled red knots and other shorebirds on made by agency scientists and wildlife management profes- their annual migration. Not surprisingly. proposals either ignore or directly negate the scientific findings that form the backbone of the ESA. the the National Marine Fisheries Service regarding the likely bark of which yielded the anti-cancer drug taxol. for example. The ESA was intentionally constructed to communities9.S. Fish and Wildlife Service elevate such decisions above the political fray and leave them estimates the total value of wildlife-dependent recreation at $122 billion annually10. the overall effect on the integrity of the plant species such as the Madagascar periwinkle. and the mamala tree. politicians who either willfully or out of ignorance fail to 10. example. effect of proposed federal agency actions upon endangered gascar periwinkle. The 13 different live bills or proposals use a variety of different tactics and approaches. Hunting. Duffield. birdwatching and other recreation consideration.S. which contains substances that have proven effective in the treatment of Hodgkin’s ESA itself is much more alarming. 2006.S. fishing. nearly half a million federal fish and wildlife agency experts. Agribusinesses have given more than $1 million to five sponsors of anti-ESA legislation in the House and Senate. P. Department of the Interior. actions upon listed species and how those actions should be Healthy populations of plants and animals also help modified to mitigate or avoid harm to the affected species. J.S.9 million to the campaigns of four of the bills’ backers in Congress. Fish and Wildlife Service. All of these legislative disease and childhood leukemia. T. and Wildlife. Common dangers While each of these attacks could spell disaster for the Our survival depends on the continued existence of animal and targeted species. Department acknowledge the success of the ESA and the many benefits of of Commerce. A chief reason for the success of have proven effective in the treatment of Hodgkin’s disease the act is its reliance on the best available science to make and childhood leukemia. 8 ASSAULT ON WILDLIFE: The Endangered Species Act Under Attack . have donated nearly $4. Eubanks. giving priority only to those species that suit that depend on wildlife and habitat conservation. 9. and third. 2000.section 1: The endangered species act under attack MADAGASCAR PERIWINKLE © ISTOCKPHOTO/JOSEPH WHITE protecting species. sweeping amendments that would seriously damage the ability of the ESA to protect imperiled animals and plants. In particular. “Wolves and People in Yellowstone: Impacts on the Regional Economy. and U.

Fish and Wildlife Service. Such collaborative efforts are being of our nation’s most flexible laws. with a variety of tools undertaken in several places around the country. The truth is that the ESA is one protect crucial habitat. The Endangered Species Act at 25. one-tenth of one percent—was prevented from moving forward due to protections for endangered species. These efforts are crucial tools for collaboration and consultation provided under the ESA.) would overrule this participating in the conservation process. 1999.in the hands of federal wildlife agencies. including and incentives for private landowners and the regulated the Bay-Delta in California. For precedent for imposing the will of one influential group (in example. which is imperiled by global warming. aimed at undermining the act.defenders. WALRUS COURTESY USFWS www. One reason is simply the number and scope of the bills 11. an average of only this case.org 9 . The bills would also undermine important local multi- ESA Is Extremely Flexible stakeholder conservation planning efforts. But legislation community to reduce potential regulatory burdens by proposed by Rep. So far in this Congress there Anti-conservation forces in Congress are seeking to block ESA have been 13 different bills introduced that would undercut protection of creatures such as the Pacific walrus. busi. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.000 projects reviewed annually—less than species and the interests of other stakeholders. History shows ongoing stakeholder involvement effort and set a dangerous that the act has had a negligible economic impact. agribusinesses) over the needs of the affected listed two out of 11. draconian tool used to stand in to come together and collectively work to develop plans to the way of development. but the act has never been in as much jeopardy as it is now. between 1979 and 1992. for example. They allow for a wide range of groups.11 Immediacy of threats Legislative attacks on the ESA have come and gone over the years. The ESA is frequently and inaccurately portrayed by nesses and individuals who might be affected by ESA listings opponents as a rigid. U.S.

ESA can be protected when it’s frontally attacked in full view inconsistent record which could largely of the public eye. citizens must speak out administration accepted the Northern Rockies wolf delisting loudly and tell policymakers to oppose any and all gratuitous proposal. Democratic wildlife champions remained largely silent During the recent House floor debate over the Interior spending bill. above. The current political situation is yet another cause for alarm. the tactic of including anti-ESA policy riders the ESA prior to action by Congress to intervene politically on must-pass legislation will dramatically increase the chances and remove endangered species protections for wolves in that anti-ESA forces will be successful this fall. fact. however. ESA supporters—including long-time stalwarts administrations… on the wolf delisting of conservation and a number of Republican Congressmen measure to help an who broke ranks with their Congressional leadership—were the Obama electorally-vulnerable successful in removing the legislation’s “extinction rider. number of anti-ESA provisions that will never get debated. unlike of imperiled species by preventing new listings under the act. there are almost as many anti-ESA bills as were introduced by the August recess in the previous four Congresses combined. This fall Congress is anti-ESA riders. Meanwhile. sion would have increased the risk of extinction for hundreds In addition. Traditionally. Today’s political calculus seems to have changed. Indeed.” and insist that anti- environmental riders be expected to once again use a closed door process to develop a comprehensive federal spending bill. which could include any removed from must. This marked the first time in the 38-year history of the ESA that Congress stripped protec- tions for a particular species (in this case.” one colleague and thus hold of the most sweeping attacks on the act in years. by forcing through a delisting rule that had already been struck down by a federal court). failed to protect the Northern Rockies wolf from delisting but did oppose the “extinction rider” that champions in the House. an inconsistent record of standing up to anti-ESA riders. section 1: The endangered species act under attack SALAZAR © KRISTA SCHLYER/DEFENDERS OF WILDLIFE the ESA in one way or another—more bills by the August recess than any other Congress in recent memory. In April. have given control of that legislative body to a leadership hostile to “Unlike past wildlife. We cannot allow the Northern Rockies and in other states. In including the one delisting wolves in the Northern Rockies. has had an past Democratic The successful defeat of the Extinction Rider showed that the administrations. conservationists have been able to count on both Republican and Democratic allies in Congress who saw the benefits in saving plants and animals from extinction. the Obama Congress used this process last spring to produce a final administration has had spending bill that included various anti-environmental riders. This end-run around the ESA was tacked on to a must-pass funding bill and was never publicly debated before it became law. the this to happen. In the months ahead. Passage in April of legislation that removed gray wolves in the Northern Rockies from the endangered species list is a particular reason for concern. the danger of the dozen more pending attacks is that they may never see the light of day. pass bills. Senate Democratic Department Appropriations bill that would have banned the listing of any new endangered or threatened species. This provi- administration on to their majority. the results of the 2010 election was defeated in Congress. 10 ASSAULT ON WILDLIFE: The Endangered Species Act Under Attack . Despite having a number of wildlife Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. while in July it opposed a rider to the Interior attacks on America’s imperiled wildlife in a final spending bill. of standing up to be relied upon to veto anti-environmental bills However. setting a potentially catastrophic precedent that Congress could follow for other species that might be politically inconvenient to protect. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar repeatedly signaled to Without a strong stand by the Obama administration and Congress his willingness to accept legislative tampering with Senate leadership.

it will only exacerbate the major process that determines whether a species is endangered or environmental challenges we face. What’s more. to species conservation. To undermine the careful and thoughtful scientific meaningless.org 11 . experts have come out strongly in favor of the law. in part: “Because overharvesting. If we ignore or refuse to but the very foundation of the ecosystems that sustain us all. Ignoring the symptoms doesn’t make the disease go away—it only gets worse. ago. and were embraced by both Republicans and Democrats across a wide political spectrum. The fate of perhaps the strongest environmental law ever enacted rests in the hands of the Obama administration.org/resources/publications/programs_and_policy/wildlife_conservation/ stewardship—and against legislative interference in the biologi. The ESA was meant to ensure that our species for political expediency or short-term economic children and grandchildren would inherit a world with gain. nearly 1. clean water. In the long-term. not politicians..C.300 scientists signed a letter urging the Senate not to legislate away protections for the wolf. This is a huge and influential constituency in favor of maintaining the ESA—one that politicians in Washington should heed as they consider any bills that would undermine the act. the Endangered Species Act is the most critical and successful law for ensuring the protection of threatened and endangered wildlife in our country. They can vote to sacrifice life on this planet. Furthermore. fiber. imperiled_species/endangered_species_act_poll. too.” treat the symptoms.” The scientists went on to state: “Biological diversity Drawing a line in the sand provides food. historically transcended politics in this country. In addition. The ESA is one of the few laws principles that guided the passage of the ESA four decades that stands between us and that dubious distinction. to hand off a diminished natural-resources legacy to our It’s time for our political leaders to rediscover the children and grandchildren.SEA TURTLE © ISTOCK PHOTO/RON MASESSA cal decision-making of our federal wildlife agencies—we can all ensure a healthy natural legacy for future generations. that can or will affect humans. and myriad If Congress gets in the business of routinely delisting other ecosystem products and services on which we depend protected species under the ESA. of its strong scientific foundation. it doesn’t make the disease go away—it Both the scientific community and the American public only gets worse. politicians in Washington. or be traded away behind closed keep species alive under our watch.pdf www. In April. Our fate—and our planet’s fate—hangs and small. Imperiled species are often recovered would jeopardize not only the species in question merely the symptoms of wide-ranging. systemic problems and the continued success of the Endangered Species Act. global warming and habitat destruction. protecting all organisms large children’s future. Our generation is poised doors as part of some cynical political deal. The original goal of the act was to codify America’s In the next few months. 90 percent believe that the ESA has helped hundreds of species recover from the brink of extinction. defenders. 92 percent agree that decisions about wildlife management and which animals need protection should be made by scientists. we’ll only hurt ourselves realize something that many in Congress and the White if we allow imperiled species to be sacrificed in the name of House appear to have forgotten: We have a responsibility to short-term economic gain. 12. Survey summary available at: http://www.defenders. Imperiled creatures such as sea turtles often are merely showing their support for the ESA’s science-based approach the symptoms of wide-ranging problems such as pollution. Poll commissioned by the Endangered Species Coalition and conducted by members of Congress and the citizens of this country. then the act will be rendered every day.009 telephone surveys among adults in the United taking a strong and clear stand for sound science and good States between February 16-21. 2011. By Harris Interactive. and 87 percent say the ESA is a successful safety net for protecting wildlife and plants from extinction11. commitment to good stewardship and preserve the web of D. based on 1. These principles of responsible stewardship have in the balance. Furthermore. or they can vote for responsible stewardship and our abundant biological diversity. The letter read. Support for the act The American public still overwhelmingly supports protec- tion for imperiled species. will face some crucial tests. medicines. with 84 percent of Americans polled saying they support the ESA.

200 in Minnesota. Under current regula- in Wisconsin.Section II Targeting imperiled wolves G ray wolves were essentially wiped out of their former habitat in the lower 48 states by the early 20th century after an extensive and brutal extermination campaign. H. Management Act Threats to Species Conservation and the Endangered Species Legislative Threat: Introduced by Rep. seemingly anticipating a public outcry over efforts to strip ESA protections from wolves. sustainable wolf popula- including wolves in Wyoming. but economic ones.R. several bills have been introduced that would allow states to drastically reduce or even eliminate wolf populations. thanks to the ESA. discarding science-based standards in favor of political expediency. gray wolves in the Western sizes. 1819 would eliminate endangered species decisions out of the hands of wildlife Endangered Species Act protection for gray wolves in all or experts and allowing Congress to decide which species deserve parts of 19 states. In the been successful in the Northern Rockies and the western Northern Rockies for example. Each state should be held Nevada. this bill sets arbitrary delisting numbers. these majestic animals have been reintroduced to the Northern Rockies and the Southwest. the bill would allow Idaho. accountable for managing healthy.) Further. eliminated for wolves in Arizona and New Mexico as soon as H. Unfortunately. protection and which have recovered. Further. 2011. states must address persistent threats to the survival of 12 ASSAULT ON WILDLIFE: The Endangered Species Act Under Attack . 1819: State Wildlife the combined total of wolves in both states reaches 100. would prevent citizens from asking a judge to review such actions. 1819 would set the dangerous precedent of taking (R-Mich. but these animals today still occupy less than 1 Montana and Wyoming to get rid of nearly all the wolves percent of their historic habitat in the lower 48 states. H. The most recent legislative proposal. not relegating the entire region’s wolves to one area. Following up on that unprecedented and egregious action. this legislation ignores the importance of having Great Lakes would lose ESA protection unless their numbers adequate state management plans in place to ensure that wolf drop below 1.R.) on May 10. and it has brought not only significant ecological benefits.R. Despite that exist today except for a small population of 450 wolves this fact. and have made a strong comeback in the western Great Lakes region. too. But in the last several decades. The wolf restoration effort in the Northern Rockies is one of America’s greatest conservation success stories. 1819 would delist gray wolf populations in around Yellowstone National Park. ESA protection would also be automatically tions. Great Lakes. by focusing strictly on arbitrary population below 450 wolves. Candice Miller Act: H. These bills would open the floodgates for other species to be denied ESA protections. (Wolves in this region would tions. only regain ESA protection if the overall population falls In addition. Colorado and the northern Rocky Mountains. jeopar- dizing the long-term recovery of the species. objections to wolf restoration by a small but vocal minority in the West resulted in Congress passing in May a legislative rider to a funding bill that prematurely removed gray wolves in the Northern Rockies (except Wyoming) from the endangered species list—the first time Congress has lifted protections for an endangered species.R. barring federal protections Overview: Efforts to restore and protect gray wolves have so long as the species stays at or above those levels. 150 in Michigan and 150 populations are sustainable and secure.

giving the states permanent jurisdiction will no wolf packs are currently known to exist.org 13 . WOLF © DAVID BOLIN H. legislative proposals would further compromise safeguards for these imperiled animals. wolves in the state were reclassified as threatened. Large parts of Oregon.) on February 28. The ESA limits for federal protection. the bill would Though wolves are once again thriving in the Great Lakes. long as there are at least 450 wolves elsewhere in the Northern Furthermore. where the provides a critical safety net should conditions on the ground state’s proposed wolf management plan would allow wolves to change. This bill would prohibit gray wolves in Minnesota. and by 1978. gray wolves had been eliminated from most of their habitat in the lower 48 states. 838 undermines the scientific principles of the Endangered Species Act by decreeing that a species will no the species before ESA protections can be removed. Washington and Utah. 1819 would eliminate of a proper delisting.R. species. H. as would Wyoming. would be off. not ensure that the entire population remains viable. With robust state Congress recently passed legislation removing ESA protections wolf management plans in place. wolves are listed as endangered in Michigan (population: 580) and Wisconsin (population: 662) and threatened in Minnesota (population: 2. wolf numbers in Minnesota grew. each state would have exclusive jurisdiction over the management of gray wolves within their state. Today. where wolves need protection.R. Several other bills and to be lifted by the end of next year. longer be protected.R. federal protections are likely for wolves in most of the Northern Rockies. based on the best available science with careful consideration Lastly. which individual species deserve protection and which ones This crucial step allows citizens to voice their opinions and do not.922).R. Instead. Moreover. lower 48 states. For example. H. 1819 would preclude federal action in places given to the long-term survival of the species. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a proposed rule to delist wolves in the western Great Lakes on May 5.R. John Kline (R-Minn.R. allow wolves that enter Nevada and Colorado to be killed as that does not mean they will never need protection again. www. the U. Through the protections afforded by the ESA. After several attempts to remove protections in past years. except for a small population in northern Minnesota. As wolf populations increased in Minnesota. the animals began to disperse into Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Threats to Species Conservation and the Endangered Species Act: H. instead of following the scientific process by forcing a legislative delisting. Overview: By the time they were added to the endangered species list in 1974. 838 was introduced by Rep. 1819 is pending in the House Natural brought this species back from the brink of extinction in the Resources Committee. where cross state lines. Wisconsin and Michigan from being treated as a threatened or endangered species under the ESA. or should any state fail to adequately manage the be shot on sight across nearly 90 percent of the state. Those decisions should be made by wildlife experts help inform the future management of the species. because wolves are wide-ranging and frequently Rockies.S. 838: Western Great Lakes Wolf Management Act Legislative Threat: H. Congress should not be determining the public review process that accompanies a formal delisting. 2011. 2011.defenders. Permanently eliminating protections would prevent the kind of coordinated recovery efforts that ultimately Current Status: H.

livestock or game in the Southwest. 69 percent of New Mexicans and 77 percent of politicize the implementation of the Endangered Species Act. Steve Pearce (R-N. Rep. but now that we’re closing in on our goal. Inc. Amendment to End Mexican gray wolf recovery efforts Legislative Threat: In February. suffering heavy losses from poaching and from a short-sighted and ineffective recovery plan that resulted in many wolves being killed unnecessarily. the population has struggled to increase. of Albuquerque. where the federal threat to people. according to the five-year review of to gain such compensation. The program pays for staff and projects to help avoid conflicts National Agricultural Statistics Service reports that in 2010. In a 2008 poll the best available science to determine what is best for the conducted by Research and Polling.section 2: targeting imperiled wolves We should be celebrating the success of wolf-recovery efforts brought about by the act. is working to help ranchers avoid conflicts with wolves. It has taken decades to restore gray wolves in the western Great Lakes.S.2 percent of cattle deaths nationwide were caused livestock to wolves can now apply for compensation by wolves.. Fish and Wildlife Service is now taking the necessary steps to put the Mexican wolf firmly back on the road to recovery. but slash- digestive problems than by wolves and all other predators ing federal funds will almost certainly impact their ability combined. as part of the FY12 Interior Appropriations bill. and Mexican gray wolves are utterly dependent on federal it has established a fund to compensate livestock owners for recovery efforts. Cutting funding for this program would losses to wolves. Pearce’s action would N. Contrary to the claims of some. it Act: Given their tiny population and precarious status. Since the wolf ’s reintroduction to the wild in 1998. It has assembled a team of scien.M. the Mexican gray wolf reintroduction program. and the U. and how recovery programs should be managed. Rep. Far more livestock are killed by respiratory and through a variety of federal and state programs. species everywhere.R. they pose almost no communities within the recovery zone. with only one wild population of 50 animals in New Mexico and Arizona. there have In addition. In addition. between ranchers and predators. Threat to species conservation and the Endangered Species tists and stakeholders to help draw up a new recovery plan. or in the substituting Congress’ judgment about which species deserve number of hunting licenses issued since wolf reintroduction. essentially doom these rare animals to extinction. impatient politicians are putting that legacy at risk with ill-conceived legislation. a strong majority of voters in the Southwest for that of professional wildlife experts. long-term survival of the species. 14 ASSAULT ON WILDLIFE: The Endangered Species Act Under Attack . Current Status: H. Arizonans supported the reintroduction of Mexican gray undermining the act’s bedrock principles and imperiling rare wolves in their states. Ranchers who do lose only 0. protection. He proposed this amendment again. It would There is no justification for an attack on Mexican gray also have harmful impacts in the small southwestern wolves.) proposed an amendment to the FY11 continuing resolution in the House of Representatives that would have blocked funding for Mexican gray wolf recovery efforts in New Mexico and Arizona. Instead of using support Mexican gray wolf recovery. this action would set a dangerous precedent of been no detectable changes in big game populations. 838 is pending in the House Natural Resources Committee.M. Overview: The Mexican gray wolf is our rarest wolf. Moreover. not diminishing the accomplishment by giving up as we near the finish line. In the past year the population has shown signs of rebounding.

the individual states must develop www. Before ESA protections can be lifted here. Legislative threat: At the request of Rep. MEXICAN WOLF COURTESY JIM CLARK / USFWS management plans to ensure the security and sustainability of wolf populations within their borders. Minnesota. once the Fish and Wildlife Service finalizes its delisting rule. The Interior Depart- ment released details of the plan on August 3 and is expected to issue a proposed delisting rule in September. all of Michigan. if HR 1819 (described above) passes. Indeed. citizen groups need to be able to block funding for the wolf’s recovery efforts..org 15 . This proposal wolf recovery program could be voted on by the House in would eliminate this important tool for conserving wolves September if the House resumes consideration of the FY12 and deprive the public of its rights. Wyoming Governor Matt Mead and Interior Sec. state officials in Wyoming have been hostile to wolves. and they have refused to create a conservation plan that would allow federal officials to delegate management authority to the state.).e. throughout the years. Once again. Overview: The restoration of gray wolves to the greater Yellow- stone ecosystem has been a great success. (R-Wyo. Thus. Congress is considering a proposal to best available science. on July 7. Indiana and Ohio). As a result. Fish and Wildlife Service has been unable to safely remove protections for Wyoming’s wolf population. Iowa. Beyond the dangerous precedent of giving a federal agency unfettered powers free from judicial review—which Rider in House FY 2012 Interior is contrary to our constitutional system of checks and Appropriations Bill to Exempt Wolf balances—this proposal undermines the science-based process Delisting from Judicial Review that has worked well for the ESA. In anticipation of a public outcry over such an action. it would make it virtually impossible for American citizens to challenge wolf management plans that allow hundreds of wolves to be needlessly killed. with both ecological and economic benefits to the region. the U.defenders.S. and portions of North and South Dakota. Historically. the Interior Appropriations bill includes an anti-ESA rider that would prevent citizens from challenging Current status: The House may approve the FY12 Interior future delisting of gray wolves in all or parts of 10 states. Cynthia Lummis instead of leaving species management to wildlife managers. Illinois. the Mexican gray wolf is one of the wolves in Wyoming and elsewhere without using the country’s rarest species. Threat to species conservation and the Endangered Species Act: This legislative proposal undercuts one of the most important checks and balances built into the ESA—the public’s ability to challenge in court federal action to list and delist species. Salazar “agreed in principle” to a wolf manage- ment plan that would allow wolves to be shot on sight across most of the state for most of the year. If the government proposes to delist With only 50 animals in the wild. including the Lummis amendment. challenge such decisions in court. However. Rep. citizen lawsuits have successfully revealed serious legal and scientific deficiencies with the government’s Current status: The Pearce amendment to end the Mexican management of wolves and other species. Interior Appropriations bill. Appropriations bill in September. Lummis’ rider would insulate the delisting of gray wolves in Wyoming from judicial review. It would also extend this judicial exemption to any state within the range of the Western Great Lakes (i. Still. Congress is trying to insert itself in the process and politicize the ESA. however. and Wisconsin.

Devin Nunes (R-Calif. protecting those species from harm and developing plans for their recovery. and successful science-based process—instead placing the steelhead and green sturgeon in California’s Bay-Delta region. and home or nursery grounds to a wide array of aquatic species. 2011. these bills thwart conservation efforts and harm the affected by Rep. To ensure that they use the best available science in their decision-making process. This bill would replace science-based One crucial provision of the ESA is a requirement that any measures taken under the ESA to protect wildlife in Califor- federal agency proposing an action that could affect an nia’s Bay-Delta region with weaker standards. The ESA’s science-based process is exemplified by biological opinions. But as California’s minimize any harmful impacts. the waters vital to this ecosystem have reporting to ensure compliance. including academic institutions and other state government agencies. Not only would Legislative Threat: H. and not a political or policy Bay—provides habitat to 750 species of plants and animals. The others take aim at protections for Reliability Act and H. feeding and breeding prevent unacceptable harm to an imperiled species or its spots for waterfowl and migratory birds.Section III blocking vital protections I CHINOOK SALMON © MICHAEL QUINTON/MINDEN PICTURES ntegral to the ESA is a science-based process of determining which species of plants and animals are threatened or endangered. canals and pumping stations to cities. they frequently ask independent scientific experts to peer-review findings and decisions. and review data from a wide variety of sources. Several bills have been introduced recently that would nullify biological opinions or otherwise block crucial safeguards for a number of species in various parts of the country. farms and businesses—primarily in 16 ASSAULT ON WILDLIFE: The Endangered Species Act Under Attack . The opinion is strictly a scientific judgment. It may include conservation recommendations.) on March 30. 1837: San Joaquin Valley Water able fish and birds. lesser prairie chickens and sand dune lizards—again Water for Our Valley Act. which prescribe measures for protecting imperiled species from unnecessary harm (see box on this page). 1251: More tuna.S.R. and seek to place the needs of politically connected agribusinesses above those of vulner. 2011 elevating profits for industry above the conservation needs of declining species and their habitats.R. H. perspective. Fish and Wildlife Service or the National Marine Fisheries Service about the impacts of the action on Overview: The Bay-Delta region—where the Sacramento the listed species. federal wildlife officials consult experts both inside and outside the federal government. been diverted through a vast network of reservoirs. and the waters are habitat. This bill would also overturn California laws governing water rights and curtail the ability of state agencies to protect fish Biological Opinions: Science-based and wildlife in the Bay-Delta.). the Central Valley Project Improvement Act and the San Joaquin River Restoration Settlement Act. it would undermine key elements of the Endan- corporate backers. 2011. gered Species Act. Jim Costa (D-Calif. fate of rare creatures in the hands of politicians and their In doing so. Tools for Protecting Imperiled Species H.R. including monitoring and population has grown.R. Chinook salmon. The primary goal of a biological opinion is to The wetlands there furnish vital nesting. This bill would roll back wildlife. Three of these bills deal specifically with California’s Bay-Delta region. it may also impose reasonable and prudent measures to including several types of imperiled fish. but they would subvert the ESA’s carefully crafted protections for the endangered Delta smelt. opinion of the U. The appropriate agency will then issue a and San Joaquin rivers merge and flow into the San Francisco biological opinion about the proposed action. 1251 was introduced by Rep. As an additional check. and it would endangered or threatened species first seek the expert preempt stricter state laws governing water projects. 1837 was introduced on May 11.

projects are consistent with the 1994 Bay Delta Accord. opinions—directly undermining the ESA’s standard of using In 2008 and 2009. Chinook salmon.R. steelhead and green Endangered Species Act. (These diver. canals for strengthening the opinions. the past three years to meet these co-equal goals by draft. and these opinions can passed in 2009. the Delta smelt. H.defenders. 1251 obstructs the ESA requiring additional water be left in the Delta to the protection of Bay-Delta species under the California protect the Delta smelt. including Chinook salmon (previous page). STEELHEAD COURTESY BLM / OREGON OFFICE DELTA SMELT COURTESY PETER JOHNSEN / USFWS Several bills pending in Congress this year would stymie efforts to protect imperiled species that depend on water flows from California’s Bay-Delta ecosystem. Bay-Delta ecosystem to the point of collapse.org 17 . and by the state government in the that they will jointly produce a new biological opinion that will California State Water Project. and in a March 2010 report concluded that the water. as the bill specifically preempts any sturgeon. the arid central and southern parts of the state. and made a few suggestions sions are managed through a vast network of reservoirs. H. state and federal agencies. Project operations when that law is more restrictive. Local water agreement. www.R. fully met for all species impacted by the Central Valley The Bay-Delta system has been at the center of years Project and California State Water Project. as long as the of litigation and is now governed by a number of laws. re-engineering address the issues raised by the National Academy of Sciences of natural water flows and increased pollution have driven the and will more fully integrate new science. The National Academy of Sciences reviewed these state law governing Central Valley Project and State Water opinions. This plan is expected flow limits. environmental orga. FWS and NMFS are required to issue biological 1992 and the San Joaquin River Restoration Settlement opinions for both projects that are no more restrictive than Act. In addition. 1251 would set new.) Years of overuse. including Act by mandating that all ESA requirements are considered enormous pumps used to divert water to the south. pumping operations and salinity levels of to comply with both the ESA and state environmental the Central Valley Project and the California State Water laws. and thus allow the ongoing operation of state and Project than those prescribed in the Bay-Delta biological federal water projects in the Bay-Delta. 1837 severely weakens the Endangered Species by human-induced changes to the natural system. The bill also prohibits California from adopting agencies.R. including the Central Valley Project Improvement Act of Specifically. was listed as threatened under the Threat to Species Conservation and the Endangered Species Endangered Species Act in 1993 after its population was slashed Act: H. In May 2010 the Department and pumping stations operated by the federal government in of the Interior and the Department of Commerce announced the Central Valley Project. state regulations for ESA listed species that are more restric- nizations and other interest groups have been working for tive than the provisions of the bill. biological opinions were issued under the best available science. An indigenous fish species. steelhead (left) and the Delta smelt (above). weaker standards for water ing the Bay Delta Conservation Plan. which establish co-equal goals of water be modified only with the consent of the signatories to the supply reliability and ecosystem conservation. The Bay-Delta is also governed by a set of state bills the provisions of the agreement. diversion restrictions were justified.

conservation groups. these operations must adopt greater in California’s Bay-Delta ecosystem receive life-sustaining restrictions to compensate for the reduced restrictions on supplies of water. federal officials might project allowed the unsustainable growth of large.R. and Deficit especially several that undermine critical protections for Reduction Act of 2011 endangered species in the California Bay-Delta region and in many other parts of our nation. if a species shifts its range Joaquin Valley. Rob Bishop (R-Utah).R. would suffer and be any measures deemed necessary to avoid or ease the impacts pushed towards extinction. gases when implementing the ESA. Domestic Act: H. (In addition. Domestic Jobs. not be able to consider climate change impacts in ESA listing dependent agribusinesses and metropolitan centers. grassland birds. The New Deal-era Central Valley irrigation climate change on the species. 1287 contains a number of dangerous provisions. salmon. 2011. 1837 in the House Natural been suffering at the expense of water-dependent agribusiness Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power. trout. This decisions. by Rep. There have been Endangered species in California’s Bay-Delta ecosystem have two hearings held in June on H. H. salmon and other fish. and state agencies from ensuring sufficient water flows 2011. Central Valley steelhead. prior to the development of the engineered because of climate change. and imperiled species that depend on that water. By preventing federal Legislative Threat: H. Domestic Energy. The San to climate change. these bills will ensure dramatic reduc- tions in the populations of several imperiled species— -including the delta smelt.R. of state-declared emergencies. on April 11. In addition. since doing so communities that were located primarily around natural would be to consider the impacts of greenhouse gas-induced water supplies. a trend that would be exacerbated by pending legislation. Florida panthers and smelt. 1287 was introduced on March 31.section III: blocking vital protections © WILLIAM JAMES WARREN/SCIENCE FACTION/CORBIS These measures would seriously undermine the ESA’s science-based standards and obstruct the protection of Bay-Delta species under the California Endangered Species Act. by the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power. Central Valley spring-run Chinook salmon. Perhaps even more troubling. H. this bill could doom ion bill. steelhead and green sturgeon. 1287 would prevent federal wildlife services from considering the impacts of Overview: The Bay-Delta watershed is an ecological greenhouse gases when implementing the ESA. there was a field hearing held in Fresno. this bill requires Delta smelt.R. and local. to avoid federal and state agencies from ensuring that fish and wildlife violating the state act. and the green sturgeon—and may prevent federal and state agencies from taking actions to avert extinctions. Since climate change is expected to impact many growth came at the expense of the Bay-Delta and other species nationwide. leading to the collapse of populations of such as polar bears. in the San Joaquin Valley. California. wildlife officials from considering the impacts of greenhouse 1287. S. Jobs. 1251 and H. Deficit Reduction Act of 2011. 1287 and S. Finally. water. was introduced on March 31. for Bay-Delta wildlife and habitats. reengineering and increased pollution. In addition. Domestic Energy. Thus. federal wildlife officials could not water system. 1287 prevents from the California Endangered Species Act.]). state and federal agencies to build a Bay Delta Conservation Plan for the benefit of both the delta ecosystems and the state’s economy—with serious potential harm to both.706: 3-D.R.R.R. its compan. this prohibition could imperil creatures native ecosystems. In addition. Further. This places an unfair burden on the state operations. the bill does not exempt state water-pumping operations 2011 by Senator David Vitter [R-La. these bills would nullify years of collaborative work by farmers. H. among many others.R. 1837 are pending in the House Committee on Natural Resources. federal agencies to temporarily exempt from ESA compliance in addition to many other species. was a dry expanse with only a few farming re-designate critical habitat for the species. Moreover.R. For example. Current Status: H. 706: 3-D. Threat to Species Conservation and the Endangered Species H. 18 ASSAULT ON WILDLIFE: The Endangered Species Act Under Attack . At its worst.R. 1287 prohibits federal federal water-pumping operations that will result from H. and thus system that has been driven to near-collapse by years of block the government from helping ESA-listed species adapt overuse. Chinook salmon.

). on Water Resources and Environment. 2011. a commitment was made to revisit the decision in 2013 when more informa- tion about the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill is expected to be available. www. Instead of allowing the ESA’s science-based process to determine whether bluefin tuna should be protected. 2011. a terrible precedent. Because of the bluefin’s extensive migration patterns and high demand worldwide. These intensive fishing efforts. Pacific and Southern. Demand for this fish grew in the 1970s. this bill would make the ESA subservient to decision—undermining one of the foundations on which any state-declared emergency. fast fish that migrates long distances and is in high demand by sport and commercial fishers. In May 2011 the federal government rejected the petition. 1806 was introduced on May 10.R. this bill politicizes that Finally. In addition. subcommittee on April 1. and Technology. Current Status: H. 1806 is pending in the House Commit- Pipelines and Hazardous Materials and the Subcommittee tee on Natural Resources on May 10.R. All three bluefin species are being caught at rates that outpace their ability to reproduce. It was referred to for political expediency or financial gain. 2011. This bill was introduced in response to an ESA listing petition for the Atlantic bluefin tuna filed in May 2010.R.© NORBERT WU / MINDEN PICTURES H. plus the lack of effective international fishing regulations and the fish’s slow rate of maturity have resulted in population crashes. Overview: The Atlantic bluefin tuna is a large. finding that listing was “not warranted. S. and when.R. 1806 amends the ESA so that bluefin tuna may not be treated as an endangered or threatened species.R.defenders.H. H. 1806: Bluefin Tuna Fishermen Employment Preservation Act Legislative Threat: H. It would open the door to other legisla- Energy and Commerce. 1287 does not the act was based. following the Deepwater Horizon spill. Science. 1806 would bar listing of the fish. by hamstringing this important law.org 19 . including the House Trans- portation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Railroads. by Rep. the bill’s language refers define what constitutes an emergency.” Instead. More important. The 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico put additional stress on the Gulf-breeding population of the Atlantic bluefin. tive interference with scientific evaluation and conservation and Transportation and Infrastructure.” and thus could conceivably be broadly to undermine ESA protections in many situations used to prevent the listing of any of the three species of where an exemption from the ESA is unwarranted—thus bluefin: Atlantic.706 was placed on the Senate Legislative Calendar. further dimin- ishing their numbers and ability to rebound. Space. in particular by sushi chefs around the world. Because H. amending the act to exclude a species from protection based on the interests of a particular group with a financial stake Current Status: H. H. this legislation would set Natural Resources and in the Committees on the Judiciary. Threat to Species Conservation and the Endangered Species Act: Rather than allowing science to determine which species should be listed. international cooperation is required to protect this species from extinction. it could be interpreted simply to “bluefin tuna.R.R. spurring new fishing efforts and catching methods such as purse seine nets and longlines.1287 is pending in the Committee on in the exploitation of that species. Frank Guinta (R-N.

For example. the U. New Mexico. species protection efforts can play an 176. In addition. which would prevent the U. the landowners will not be required to commit additional resources or face Overview: The lesser prairie chicken is a mid-size. Amendment #429 to S.) and Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas) assurances. which promise landowners that if unforeseen for inclusion in the FY12 Interior Appropriations bill. additional restrictions on the use of their land. New important role in generating income in rural communities Mexico.M. Fish In truth. a well-attended festival celebrating the lesser prairie chicken Fish and Wildlife Service first determined that ESA listing had registrants from 15 different states and two provinces in of the species was warranted. As with and gas industry claim that saving species such as the lesser many other anti-ESA bills.M. Sen.000 square miles across parts of Colorado. conversion of rangeland to cropland and overgrazing. James Inhofe (R-Okla. loss of habitat from the conversion of native rangelands to cropland. politicians and their corporate benefactors. in Woodward. Congress is considering legislation that would block listing of the species under the ESA. birds forage for insects and nest on the ground in open and by the end of 2007. which allow developers to proceed with certain agreements for the species. Between 2001 white striped member of the grouse family. covered by HCPs. an amendment to projects that harm listed species. Ongoing threats to 10th year provides thousands of dollars to help maintain the the lesser prairie chicken include oil and gas development.) filed. the government approved more than 424 plans. could be lost forever. the lesser prairie chicken occupied more than Equally important. the ESA provides plenty of flexibility to allow and Wildlife Service from extending ESA protections to lesser for economic growth. N. less than 15 percent of its historic range. Kansas. Today. but did not offer. Pearce. brown-and. Threat to Species Conservation and the Endangered Species Act: the use of herbicides to destroy shinnery oak habitat and Without federal protection and fully funded conservation efforts. Despite this. In 1998. making it subject to the whims of major job losses. provided that the harm is block the listing of lesser prairie chickens has been proposed by minimized and mitigated. Oklahoma. severe over-grazing by livestock. Inhofe and their backers in the oil nation’s commitment to protecting imperiled wildlife. 10 years later.S. 782. fire suppression. such as through habitat conservation prairie chickens and would threaten existing conservation plans (HCPs). almost 50 million acres of land were grasslands dominated by shinnery oak or sand sagebrush. In Milnesand. Oklahoma and Texas.COM Amendments to Block Listing of the Lesser prairie chickens face threats such as loss of habitat from Lesser Prairie Chicken oil and gas development. Personal communication with festival organizer Willard Heck in Clovis. this legislation undermines our Rep. it would set a dangerous precedent prairie chicken is bad for the economy and will result in for wildlife conservation. the Economic Revitalization Act of 2011. In the House. Legislative Threat: In the Senate. community center and support the local fire department12. HCPs also contain “no surprise” Reps.section III: blocking vital protections LESSER PRAIRIE CHICKEN © JOEL SARTORE/JOELSARTORE. In the 1880s. 20 ASSAULT ON WILDLIFE: The Endangered Species Act Under Attack . the service 2009. Steve Pearce (R-N. 12. continued habitat fragmentation due to land development these imperiled animals and the sensitive habitat they depend on and roadbuilding.S. circumstances require additional mitigation. the species inhabits in their own right. These chicken-like and 2009. a similar festival now in its made listing the species a high priority.

but this action has failed to of the lesser prairie chicken proposed by Reps. FWS rightfully concluded these candidate lizard and would threaten existing conservation agreements for agreements and state laws alone would not adequately protect the species. Pearce may be voted on habitat has been lost since 1982. Since that time. 782. (R-N. The sand dune lizard was by the House in September if the House resumes consideration listed as an endangered species under New Mexico’s Wildlife of the FY12 Interior Appropriations bill. but did not offer. In New Mexico. In the House. It is primarily active between danger. other small insects. Sen. Pearce and shield the lizard from its greatest threat. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed to protect the species under the ESA. is a small brown reptile that inhabits a tiny tion efforts.M. and the U. the acres of habitat have been voluntarily protected under these Economic Revitalization Act of 2011. at least 40 percent of its shinnery oak dunes sagebrush lizard proposed by Rep. the sand dune lizard was added to the federal list of ESA candidate species. and off-road vehicle use. Cornyn’s proposal candidate agreements.) for inclusion in the FY12 Interior Appropriations bill. The species they depend on could be lost forever. these imperiled animals and the sensitive habitat sliver of southeast New Mexico and west Texas. spiders and protecting imperiled wildlife. Threat to Species Conservation and the Endangered Species Overview: The sand dune lizard. MAP COURTESY WILDEARTH GUARDIANS SAND DUNE LIZARD COURTESY BLM/NEW MEXICO OFFICE www. the sand dune lizard has been eliminated from 86 percent of its historic range in Current Status: The amendment to block the ESA listing of the Texas. As with other anti-ESA bills. they are undermining our nation’s commitment to April and October and feeds on ants. Approximately 200. John Cornyn (R-Texas) farmers and oil and gas developers. the FWS has Amendments to Block Listing of the finalized two candidate conservation agreements for the sand Sand Dune Lizard dune lizard and the lesser prairie chicken in New Mexico that include regulatory assurances to address the concerns of Legislative Threat: In the Senate. also known as the dunes sagebrush lizard. Today. amendment #397 to S.defenders. Steve Pearce list the sand dune lizard as endangered. crickets. and in December 2010 it formally proposed to of the sand dune lizard has been proposed by Rep. occupies only a small fraction of its original habitat in Texas and New Mexico. making it subject to the whims of politicians shinnery oak habitat by oil and gas development. But because the imperiled lizard lives in the oil.Current Status: The amendment to block the ESA listing Conservation Act in January 1995.000 introduced.S. an amendment to block the listing this species. this legislation would set a dangerous precedent for wildlife The major threat to the lizard is the destruction of its conservation. Dunes Sagebrush Lizard Distribution in the Permian Basin The sand dune lizard (below). Appropriations bill. the lizard is not protected as an endangered if the House resumes consideration of the FY12 Interior or threatened species. yet the sand dune lizard remains in would amend the ESA to preclude listing of the sand dune serious trouble. agriculture and their corporate benefactors. habitat destruction.org 21 . Rep.and natural-gas-rich Permian Basin. also known as the dunes Act: Without federal protection and fully funded conserva- sagebrush lizard. Pearce and Senator relies on shinnery oak for shade and buries itself in the sand Cornyn are not only putting the sand dune lizard in grave to regulate its body temperature. Neugebauer may be voted on by the House in September Under Texas law. some members of Congress are seeking to block ESA listing of the species. In 2001.

ESA tools such as candidate conservation agreements. 22 ASSAULT ON WILDLIFE: The Endangered Species Act Under Attack . As with many of the Now the Obama administration has begun a comprehensive other anti-ESA bills recently introduced. putting not only wildlife and habitat at risk. Three bills or legislative proposals introduced in recent months use this false portrait of the ESA as an excuse to make broad and potentially devastating changes to the act. Because developers want to build on what little remains of this rare Science and Politics Don’t Mix inland dunes ecosystem. The act also requires the secretaries of the Department of the Interior and Commerce to consider the economic and national security impacts of a critical habitat designation. for example. would for the imperiled Delhi Sands ecosystem of southern California. and various incentives for private landowners to participate in the conserva- tion process and reduce any potential regulatory burdens. Joe Baca (D-Calif. 2011. The third would gut requirements under the recently that it plans to review the ESA’s implementation ESA that safeguard both imperiled wildlife and people from the and develop additional policies to make the act work better. was introduced on March 11. 1042. but could doom countless other species to extinction. and allows them to exclude an area from being designated if the costs outweigh the benefits. balancing wildlife protection and real estate development. 1042: Discredit Eternal Listing ments and candidate conservation agreements. powerful corporate effort to make ESA regulations and policies more effective and efficient. and the fact that the law has rarely been used to halt development projects.S. such as safe harbor agree. During the Clinton administration. For example. The second would policies. The Obama administration has stated and water quality. give the Department of Homeland Security a blanket waiver the U. potentially doom- U. the Inequality of Species Takings Act agency’s brightest scientists. Political intervention at this stage would only derail this effort and jeopardize America’s Legislative Threat: H. anti-conservation forces attempt to portray the ESA as a roadblock to economic growth or a threat to our national security. but air private landowners.). Inequality of Species Takings Act (DELIST Act).Section IV Sweeping Harmful Amendments T he ESA is one of our nation’s most flexible laws. Rep. Fish and Wildlife Service an opportunity to update ESA ing many imperiled creatures to extinction. Fish and Wildlife Service developed a series of of a broad range of environmental laws across large parts of the new policies designed to make the ESA more effective for country. Before engaging in a political process to revise the act. Congress should first give the place a 15-year time limit on species recovery. lawyers and policymakers are (DELIST Act) working hard to improve the act. and the best way to assure that is to let career wildlife professionals take the lead. among many other creatures. The first.) has introduced a bill that would not only remove ESA protections for the endangered fly.S.R. which provides habitat for the western meadowlark (above) and the endangered burrowing owl (far right). under the guise of The Delhi Sands flower-loving fly (near right) is an indicator species removing ESA protections for an endangered insect. H. use and discharge of dangerous pesticides. Discredit Eternal Listing natural heritage for future generations. with many built-in exceptions and alternatives to allow economic growth. the agency is evaluating how interests—including pesticide manufacturers and real estate habitat conservation plans can do an even better job at developers—are lined up in support of these proposals. Despite this flexibility.R. Joe Baca (D-Calif. In short. safe harbor agreements and habitat conservation plans provide avenues to accommodate responsible development and land uses both before and after a species is listed. The agency is also analyzing how to improve its private landowner conservation tools. by Rep. Science—not politics—should guide improvements to the ESA.

The Delhi sands are also habitat for Endangered Species Act. Insects pollinate 40 U. or the continued listing does not cause any both in the United States and around the world are in economic hardship on communities within the species’ range. pollinators and hard-to-study species must be considered extinct if they play a crucial role not only in our environment. it still deserves protection. the endangered burrowing owl. precipitous decline.defenders. charismatic as many of the other animals and plants on the reptiles and plants. the Delhi Sands In addition. commercial crops.org 23 . Native pollinators during that time. and many other insects. the western meadowlark. Baca is using the presence of one rare of these creatures in the name of short-term economic gain. MEADOWLARK COURTESY JOHN AND KAREN HOLLINGSWORTH/USFWS OWL © SCOTT LINSTEAD/FOTO NATURA/MINDEN PICTURES DELHI SANDS FLOWER-LOVING FLY COURTESY MARJORY NELSON/USFWS The bill amends the Endangered Species Act so that some rare animals: plant pollinators. posing a significant threat to both our food supply and economy. Protection efforts for the flower-loving fly endangered species list. this species is a member of a vital class of the Delhi Sands ecosystem for survival. By fertilizing plants. a remain listed only if its population has increased substantially service valued at over $30 billion per year. as an excuse for a sweeping rewrite of the imperiled ecosystem. We can’t afford to sacrifice more Overview: Rep. A species may economy. but in our are listed as endangered for 15 or more years. www. insect species in his congressional district.S. As its will also benefit the other plants and animals that depend on name suggests. While the Delhi Sands flower-loving fly is not as the Mormon metalmark butterfly. this fly is an indicator species for a rare and flower-loving fly.

R. and may occur because of changes in Drinking Water Act. 1042 is pending in the House Commit. National Forest Management Act.R. Migratory Bird Treaty habitat. Nearly two out of every three period of time has run out. the Border Patrol. is that federal wildlife experts don’t have enough resources to determine if there have been substantial increases in Overview: The stated purpose of this bill is to allow the the populations of many species. One problem with this time limit 100 miles of our country’s borders. exemption to all borders and coastlines of the United States. bring a species back from the brink of extinction.section IV: sweeping harmful amendments BORDER WALL © KRISTA SCHLYER/WAYFARER PHOTOGRAPHY Threat to Species Conservation and the Endangered Species H. Such shifts the Wilderness Act. 2011. In addition. Rob types of imperiled animals and plants. Even though the southwestern borderlands account for 97 percent of all apprehensions of undocumented entrants by Current Status: H. Setting a 15-year time limit would Americans live within 100 miles of a border. 1505 was introduced by Rep. and 10 states only discourage the kind of long-term planning needed to are entirely contained within this region—including Florida. this bill would apply the same excessive tee on Natural Resources. 24 ASSAULT ON WILDLIFE: The Endangered Species Act Under Attack . it would have dangerous implications for many other Legislative threat: H. but that shift their ranges after they are first listed. It would do so species to show a substantial improvement. 1505: The National Security and Act: Not only could this bill doom a rare pollinator and Federal Lands Protection Act other unique insects found only in the Delhi Sands forma- tion. More than a dozen countless species that would lose protection if this bill were other states would have half or more of their land mass to become law. and animals shouldn’t expire simply because some arbitrary but so is the geographic reach. Act and National Environmental Policy Act. Coast jaguarundi.R. Some of the Hawaii. by exempting homeland security officials from an incredibly because of the way the bill is written. Safe are not uncommon. It would exempt the science-based standards for determining when to delist Department of Homeland Security from complying with a species. this legislation would impose an arbitrary and dozens of environmental laws—including the ESA—within unrealistic time limit. Even if they had those Department of Homeland Security to achieve ‘operational resources. Connecticut and New Jersey. it could doom species broad array of environmental laws—not only the ESA. availability of food and many other factors. and ultimately face extinction. including California. Our nation’s commitment to protecting imperiled plants Not only are the legal exemptions of the bill sweeping. In place of the ESA’s Bishop (R-Utah) on April 13. 15 years is simply not enough time for many control’ over the borders of the United States. Alabama sturgeon and white sturgeon. Clean Air Act. include: Gulf included in this blanket exemption.

Yaqui catfish and Chiricahua leopard Threat to Species Conservation and the Endangered Species frogs. 22 out of 26 Border Patrol stations report that opera. environmental laws in large. piping plovers. but the air we breathe and the water we drink. but it would put at risk clean air and water for millions of American citizens.R. jaguars. because of budget constraints and other.COM DESERT TORTOISE (CAPTIVE) © KRISTA SCHLYER/WAYFARER PHOTOGRAPHY Legislation introduced by Rep. despite some risk. Sonoran pronghorn. higher-ranked creatures that could be harmed include Mexican spotted priorities. www.org 25 . among others. heavily populated areas of our polar bears. HUMPBACK WHALE © WILLIAM WELCH MANATEE © JOEL SARTORE/JOELSARTORE. including requirements to protect management laws. but within 100 miles of all our borders. to comply with any provisions of the ESA within the tional control of their area has not been affected by land 100-mile buffer area. laws. Not only would this bill imperil creatures such as the humpback whale (above). desert tortoises. Elsewhere in the country. ocelots. 1505 would give the Department of Homeland imperiled animals that might be affected includes Florida Security sweeping and unparalleled authority to ignore panthers. In the Southwest. lesser long-nosed bats. reported delays due to compliance with environmental The bill waives the need for Homeland Security officials laws. two of the stations did not even request additional Fish and Wildlife Service to discuss ways to avoid or mini- resources or assistance to deal with the problem—and the mize those impacts. Canada lynx. humpback whales. This blanket waiver omits the highest impact on operational control. Along the crucial border with Mexico. Of the four even a basic requirement to consider the impacts of poten- border stations that reported impacts from environmental tial actions to imperiled species or to meet with the U.S. the West Indian manatee (top right) and the desert tortoise (bottom right). grizzly bears. Instead. the list of Act: H. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) would exempt the Department of Homeland Security from complying with the ESA and many other environmental laws not only near our border with Mexico (opposite page). factors like rugged terrain have habitat critical to species survival. West country—not only putting America’s wildlife and habitats at Indian manatees and many others.defenders. This could potentially impact dozens two that did request help were denied by their own agency of imperiled species around the country. owls. leatherback sea turtles.

decline of iconic species including the bald eagle. Olympic National Forest in Washington.S. wildlife agencies to ensure that pesticide use does not unac- which was approved on March 31. 718. Among the federal lands crucial to wildlife that could be harmed by this bill: Cabeza Prieta and Buenos Aires national wildlife refuges in Arizona. Though DDT was banned in Appropriations Bill to Prohibit ESA the U. recognizes that no Congress that would prevent the EPA from regulating the dollar amount can be placed on the extinction of our nation’s discharge of certain pesticides into waterways. For example. impacts of pesticide use on endangered wildlife. Cape Hatteras National Seashore in North Carolina. frogs and sea turtles. Everglades National Park in Florida. ESA consulta- tions have resulted in findings by the National Marine Overview: In the 1950s. 2011 and also has passed ceptably harm imperiled wildlife.” Based on past history. economy and our health.). but (R-Calif. sponsored by Rep. lack of access to feeding sites and water sources. These activities have a wide variety of negative impacts to imperiled wildlife. A rider related to these bills is also included in the FY12 House These ESA-imposed requirements on pesticide use Interior Appropriations bill. among others. White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire. Glacier National Park in Montana other species. Legislative Threat: The FY 2012 Interior Appropriations The Federal Insecticide. 1505 is pending in the House Commit- tee on Natural Resources. In the House. vehicle patrols. Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio). The ESA. Klamath National Forest Even though the widespread use of pesticides (above) in the 1950s in California. It Agency (EPA) from using any funds to “modify. prohibit the EPA from protecting imperiled creatures from these harmful chemicals. These consultations result the Senate Agriculture Committee. Fungicide and Rodenticide bill includes an anti-ESA rider added by Rep. too. in 1972. Tongass National Forest and Arctic National led to the decline of the brown pelican (right). This would largely eliminate the ESA’s by that pesticide. off-road vehicle use and lighting. the bald eagle and Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge in Texas. 1505 would also put valuable public lands at risk. overflights. on the other hand.R. the widespread use of dangerous Fisheries Service (NMFS) that several pesticides are likely pesticides such as DDT played a major role in the rapid to seriously harm 27 protected salmon species in the North- 26 ASSAULT ON WILDLIFE: The Endangered Species Act Under Attack .) that would prohibit the Environmental Protection it alone does not adequately protect endangered species. Nothing in FIFRA prevents EPA from ability to protect imperiled species from dangerous pesticides. 872. or only requires EPA to weigh the profits from using a pesticide suspend” the registration of pesticides in response to any ESA against the dollar value of the environmental harm caused biological opinion. Current Status: H. but advantages for our included in the FY12 House Interior Appropriations bill. Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico. Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin. peregrine Rider in FY 2012 House Interior falcon and California condor. S. The bill would give the Department of Homeland Security immediate access to any public lands for “activities that assist in securing the border. and kill more than 67 million birds every year. Another similar bill in the in science-based biological opinions that help EPA reduce the Senate. and interruption of migration patterns. including stress. habitat fragmentation and destruction.section IV: sweeping harmful amendments CROP DUSTER © PAUL SUTHERLAND/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC STOCK H. such activities would include road and fence construction. San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area in Arizona. damage to nesting and breeding areas. treasured wildlife. Ken Calvert Act (FIFRA) is the primary law regulating pesticides. cancel. It requires the EPA to consult with federal the bill is H. was sponsored by Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kan. A rider related to these bills is also have not only ecological benefits. other commonly used pesticides continue to Pesticide Consultations harm endangered salmon. Conte Wildlife Refuge in Massachusetts. Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge in Delaware.R. approving the use of pesticides that would harm imperiled Related bills have been introduced to both bodies of species.R. several proposals are pending in Congress that would and Silvio O.

2 Threat to Species Conservation and the Endangered Species billion to the Northwest economy. and the potential consequences of creatures and preserve the economic benefits that those their decline include the extinctions of plants that depend animals provide. up to 3. bats and other wild creatures. Healthy salmon populations and clean rivers create leading food crops depend on animal pollination. including the Calvert of U. By continuing to rely provide tremendous benefits to humans by controlling on the science-based procedures established by the ESA insects and the diseases they carry. Calvert’s amendment would largely eliminate the endangered fish.000 insects nightly. 87 of the 115 amendment. At the national level. www.org 27 . salmon are three organophosphate compounds that are also Taken together. flexible enough to protect wildlife and human health while control pests and limit the spread of disease. these pieces of legislation will endanger not linked to behavioral problems in humans. before Northwest salmon populations important cash crops such as cocoa and coffee. Globally. Birds and bats accommodating economic growth. crops depend on pollinators. Birds EPA can prevent the unnecessary poisoning of endangered provide similar services. In 1988. fish. Among the pesticides that harm and would further pollute our nation’s water.S. $14 billion worth Appropriations bill in September. land and air. Consultations under the Endangered Species Act are but our children. including local jobs. bats and other wildlife that pollinate crops. pesticides also pollute the water and land ESA’s ability to protect imperiled species from pesticides that humans depend on. The ESA is already imperiled birds. The only beneficiaries of these bills also critical to ensuring that pesticide use does not harm are those in the pesticide industry. increases in the numbers of insect pests. salmon fishing provided income to more than 21. birds. BARNES/USFWS west. increases in crop damage and the Current Status: The House may approve the FY12 Interior spread of diseases. only amphibians. BROWN PELICAN COURTESY THOMAS G. In addition to poisoning Act: Rep. A single bat may consume and following the recommendations of expert biologists. especially mosquitoes. too. on birds for pollination and seed dispersal. had dropped sharply.000 families and contributed more than $1.defenders.

Ken Calvert Endangered Species Pesticides Rider in Agribusiness (Minus tobacco. Domestic Agribusiness (Minus tobacco. forestry & dairy) $176.848 (R-Calif.) Reliability Act Sen. the Oil & Gas $468.300 (R-Texas) Economic Revitalization Act of 2011 Sen.R. The charts below (drawn from information compiled forestry and dairy industries. 706: 3-D. forestry & dairy) $124. Amendment (lesser prairie chicken) to H.427 (D-Calif. and Deficit Reduction Act Rep. David Vitter S. forestry & dairy) $502.000 (R-Utah) Energy. Domestic Jobs. The agribusiness contributions to members of Congress who are sponsoring chart details total political action committee contributions anti-ESA legislation that would benefit their industries. forestry & dairy) $20. Agribusiness Campaign Contributions Sponsor Bill/Threat Contributing Industry Total (PACs Only) Rep. 2584. 1251: More Water for Our Valley Act Agribusiness (Minus tobacco. Domestic Agribusiness (Minus tobacco. the FY12 Oil & Gas $1.) Energy. 782: the Oil & Gas $1.809.308. from this industry minus donations from the tobacco.) H.R. Devin Nunes H. John Cornyn Amendment no. Jim Costa H.org in from this industry.R.Appendix 1: Bankrolling Anti-Endangered Species Act Legislation Oil and gas companies and agribusiness firms have July 2011).) Interior Apprpriations Bill Rep. Randy Neuge.822 bauer (R-Texas) FY12 Interior Appropriations Bill 28 ASSAULT ON WILDLIFE: The Endangered Species Act Under Attack . show the lifetime contributions accepted by collectively given more than $5.549 (R-Calif.R.) Rep.280.173 (R-Okla. 2584. 1287: 3-D.) Economic Revitalization Act of 2011 Rep. Steve Pearce Amendment (sand dune lizard) to H. 429 (lesser prairie chicken) to S. 782: the Oil & Gas $1.900 (R-La.M.9 million in campaign these members from these industries. forestry & dairy) $246. and Deficit Reduction Act Oil and Gas Campaign Contributions Sponsor Bill/Threat Contributing Industry Total (PACs and Individuals) Sen. Domestic Jobs. 1837: The San Joaquin Valley Water Agribusiness (Minus tobacco.901 (R-N. 397 (sand dune lizard) to S. Rob Bishop H.R. James Inhofe Amendment no. The oil and gas chart details by the independent. nonpartisan Center for Responsive total political action committee and individual donations Politics and posted on their website OpenSecrets. 2584 Rep.R.

as history has demonstrated regarding previous riders preventing new species listings. time-consuming and expensive. Some of the imperiled species that would be impacted include wolverine.S. U. Many of these species have been waiting for more than a decade to be protected under the Endangered Species Act and any further delay could consign them to extinction. Greenwalt Director. including more than 260 candidate species for which the Fish and Wildlife Service has already determined that listing under the Endangered Species Act is warranted. Rio Grande cutthroat trout and red knot. This principle has been at the foundation of the Endangered Species Act for almost four decades and has been widely embraced in a bipartisan manner for many years. It has been exceedingly effective in preventing the extinction of hundreds of plants and animals and is our nation’s most important law for ensuring the conservation of its rich biological heritage for future generations.Appendix II: Letter From Former Directors of the U. We therefore respectfully urge you to support the amendment expected to be offered by Rep. Lynn A. U. but strong opposition to the proposed provision in the House Interior Appropriations bill prohibiting the Fish and Wildlife Service from spending any money on listing imperiled plants and animals under the Endangered Species Act. Moreover. Fish and Wildlife Service (1989-1993) Jamie Rappaport Clark Director. Fish and Wildlife Service July 27.S. Pacific walrus. U. This so-called “Extinction Rider” would likely increase the risk of extinction for hundreds of imperiled plants and animals. The Extinction Rider will severely undermine the Endangered Species Act’s effectiveness and place hundreds of imperiled plants and animals at further risk of extinction. Conserving America’s rich wildlife heritage is one of our nation’s proudest traditions and has been a model for the international community. The Endangered Species Act has consistently enjoyed broad public support. Fish and Wildlife Service (2002-2005) . we firmly believe that decisions regarding the conservation of imperiled plants and animals should be based on science and be made by qualified wildlife conservation professionals as provided by law. U.S.S. Norm Dicks to strip this provision from the House Interior Appropriations bill. 2011 Dear Member of Congress: As former directors of the U. Fish and Wildlife Service (1973-1981) John F. or protecting their critical habitat. The Extinction Rider is directly counter to this principle and establishes a dangerous precedent of substituting politically-based wildlife conservation decision-making for that based on science and law. this provision will be counterproductive in the long-run because it will make future efforts to conserve imperiled species more contentious. Fish and Wildlife Service from both Democratic and Republican administrations. Fish and Wildlife Service (1997-2001) Steve Williams Director. As professional wildlife biologists. difficult.S. Sincerely. we are writing to express our respectful.S. Turner Director.

Washington.org . N.C.DEFENDERS OF WILDLIFE 1130 17th Street.W. D. 20036-4604 202.682.9400 www.defenders.