The groups charge that members of the committee are cynically seeking to heighten the controversy surrounding the Klamath in order to push through changes to the ESA that are designed to add unnecessary roadblocks, delays, and cost to implementing the Act. Defenders of Wildlife, Earthjustice, Endangered Species Coalition, Sierra Club, USPIRG, and The Wilderness Society sent their statement to committee members on Wednesday.
"Most of these proposals, which attempt to legislate a 'one size fits all' approach to science, go back to the 104th Congress, when members mounted a stealth campaign to roll back a range of conservation and public health laws," said Susan Holmes of Earthjustice. "The Congress and public rejected these proposals then, and they should again," said Holmes.
The groups called on the committee to "...stop trying to dismantle the ESA and start working for real solutions that address the problem of water quality and quantity in the Klamath," and to "support a comprehensive plan to restore the Klamath Basin..."
They also added that, "The very National Academy of Sciences report that Committee members are using to discredit the ESA dramatically underscores how important it is to address the problem of water pollution in the basin. "
The conservation groups are calling on the House committee to support long-term solutions for the Klamath Basin including:
The letter sent to committee members concludes, "The ESA is not the villain here, but an indicator that the ecosystem is critically broken."
Copies of the statement are available. Please call Suzanne Carrier at Earthjustice – 202.667.4500, x. 213