Congressman Alan Lowenthal (CA-47) today joined with 96 of his House colleagues in urging leaders of both parties in the House to ensure that a number of potentially harmful provisions to endangered species conservation not be included in final spending legislation for FY 2019.
In a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, the Members point out that the eleven policy riders are “…aimed at weakening the Endangered Species Act—a law that continues to serve as our nation's most effective law in protecting wildlife in danger of extinction.”
The riders have been included in the FY 2019 Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 6147), which passed the House in July. A Senate version passed in August and both are now going before conference committee to work out differences between the two versions.
The letter points out that the riders undermine endangered species conservation by targeting and denying federal protections for certain imperiled species, including gray wolves through the nation, wolves in the Midwest, the sage grouse in the Columbia Basin, the lesser prairie chicken, and grizzlies in the North Cascades ecosystem. “Such decisions,” the letter states, “should be based on the best available science, rather than political considerations that fall outside the framework of the [Endangered Species] Act.”
The letter also highlights one of the most egregious riders, which “…would halt all federal conservation actions for approximately 700 endangered and threatened animals and plants with past-due five-year reviews. This translates to more than 40 percent of protected U.S. species. Endangered and threatened species should not be made to suffer and decline toward extinction because the Services lack adequate funding to fulfill their responsibilities.”
The Members conclude the letter by calling on Speaker Ryan and Leader Pelosi to use their position “…to uphold our nation's legacy of protecting our natural heritage for future generations of Americans and reject the inclusion of any of these attacks on the Endangered Species Act and wildlife in any final bill to fund the federal government.”