The 2012 House Interior Appropriations Bill contains multiple legislative proposals that would represent the most sweeping attempt to weaken the Endangered Species Act in recent history. If passed, no new species could be protected, currently protected species could not receive habitat protections, the courts would be precluded from reviewing de-listing of wolves and the ability of the Act to prevent poisoning of wildlife would be crippled.
I am writing to urge that you support an amendment that will be offered by Representatives Norm Dicks and Mike Thompson to strike the “Extinction Rider” and oppose any further attacks on the ESA when the bill comes to the floor, and vote against final passage of the bill.
If passed, this bill would bar the USFWS from adding any new species to the Endangered Species List or granting critical habitat protections to species already protected under the Act. The so-called "Extinction Rider" would also prevent FWS from upgrading the status of struggling species from threatened to endangered. This proposal would prevent FWS from protecting the backlog of more than 260 species it's determined warrant protections but are unprotected for lack of resources. Wolverines, Pacific Walrus and Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout would all slip closer to extinction under this plan.
Additionally, it would sanction an end-run around the democratic process by removing the ability of the courts to review proposals to de-list gray wolves in Wyoming and the Western Great Lakes States.
Further, it would make protecting endangered and threatened species from the hazards of pesticides nearly impossible under ESA and remove essentially all federal protections for the fewer than 8,000 bighorn sheep left in the United States.
If adopted, these above provisions would derail the Endangered Species Act – a law that has led to the successful recovery of many of our nation’s most cherished species, including the bald eagle and the whooping crane. Again, we respectfully urge you to strongly oppose the FY 2012 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies appropriations bill and urge you to support the Dicks-Thompson amendment to strike the Extinction Rider.