Sunday, January 31, 2016
Demand Transparency in Legislation: Oppose S. 2012 and S. 659
On January 20, 2016, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) successfully included an amendment to S. 659, the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2015, which, if passed and signed into law, would strip federal protections for gray wolves in four states. On January 29, 2016, a virtually identical provision was successfully included in S. 2012, the Energy Policy Modernization Act, by U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI).
The ESA requires USFWS to base all listing and delisting decisions on the best available science. Thus when determining whether or not to end endangered species protection, federal law requires that an independent panel of scientists be commissioned to provide an objective scientific review of the federal agency's proposals. Both bills blatantly ignore this federal mandate. Additionally, the specific delisting amendments are completely unrelated to the intent and purpose of these two bills. Not only does this practice challenge the transparency of the legislative process, but it undermines the integrity of our nation’s most significant environmental law.
It appears evident that some politicians have forgotten the bipartisan values that Congress embraced four decades ago when it first passed the ESA. This federal law has given thousands of at-risk species a second chance and has worked successfully to prevent the extinction of 99% of the species placed under its protection. A recent national poll found that the Endangered Species Act is supported by 90% of American voters.
Despite its success and public support, the ESA remains under attack.
Please urge your senators to uphold spirit and integrity of this important federal law by opposing all amendments embedded in bills that would undermine our country’s most effective and publicly supported environmental law.