More Than 100,000 Americans Oppose Bush Endangered Species Rewrite
Leda Huta, Endangered Species Coalition, (202) 320-6467
Susan Holmes, Earthjustice, (202) 667-4500, ext. 204
James Navarro, Defenders of Wildlife, (202) 772-0247
Kristina Johnson, Sierra Club, (415) 977-5619
Colin Durrant, Conservation Law Foundation, (617) 850-1722
Today more than 100,000 citizens opposed the Bush Administration's attempt to severely weaken the Endangered Species Act. (More than 23,000 Earthjustice activists submitted comments.)
"In the midst of a financial crisis, it is incredible that Americans, despite their numerous other worries, rose up and declared that they wanted an end to the destruction of endangered species protections. To think that more than 100,000 individuals took notice and opposed these regulations being pushed through by Bush, Cheney and company is astounding. Demonstrating such massive opposition ensures that Bush and friends will not be able to go quietly into the night while destroying one of our country's greatest wilderness laws," said Leda Huta, Executive Director of the Endangered Species Coalition.
The Bush administration proposals would significantly weaken the Endangered Species Act. According to a Congressional Research Service report, the proposed regulations may violate the Endangered Species Act, allow federal actions to proceed that would harm endangered species and create more work for federal agencies, not less, as the Administration claims.
"The public reaction to this proposal was immediate. Tens of thousands of people around the country are telling the Bush administration to abandon its last-ditch attempts to remove protections for our nation's wildlife and wild places," said Melissa Waage at the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Representatives from the Endangered Species Coalition, Natural Resources Defense Council, Earthjustice, Sierra Club, National Audubon Society and Defenders of Wildlife delivered over 100,000 comments emailed in from Americans of all walks of life after the Department of the Interior and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration refused to accept public comments in the form of e-mails or faxes.
"The Bush administration proposal eliminates the critical checks and balances needed to protect endangered species and cuts scientists from the process of making decisions that need to be science-based," said Mike Daulton, with National Audubon Society.
"In its waning days in office, the Bush administration is trying to fast track oil drilling, mining, logging and development by stripping away protections for our public lands and wildlife heritage," stated Matthew Kirby with Sierra Club. "The Bush administration has attempted to unravel the Endangered Species Act quietly and without notice. It isn't working. Tens of thousands of Americans have already demanded protection for this cornerstone environmental law."
Over 80 Members of Congress also sent a letter asking the Bush administration to withdraw the proposed regulations and the Senate attempted to hold a hearing to delve into them more deeply.
"The wildlife agencies are the 'keepers of the flame' for our threatened and endangered wildlife. They are the only experts equipped to make decisions based on looking at the whole picture for a species, and taking them out of the decision-making process is the height of recklessness," said Jamie Rappaport Clark, executive vice president of Defenders of Wildlife. "The danger that these proposed changes spell for imperiled wildlife is clear, not only to us but to the thousands of Americans who have urged the Bush administration to drop these proposals."
"Such a major change to a bedrock environmental law deserves open and honest debate with Congress and the American public," said Susan Holmes of Earthjustice. "Yet, the administration refused to defend their proposal by canceling their scheduled appearance before the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works committee last month -- a rarely, if ever, seen occurrence. This only demonstrated how desperate they are to hide their unpopular changes."
Well over 100 conservation, scientific, education, religious, sporting and community organizations asked the administration to stop their assault on one of our nation's most important conservation laws.
"The Bush administration's proposed wholesale evisceration of the consultation regulations would have a particularly nefarious impact on our ability to protect species such as the polar bear from global warming and would allow corrupt agencies such as the Mineral Management Service to proceed without check, " said Bill Snape with the Center for Biological Diversity.
"What New England's imperiled wildlife need is better science-based management, not less. The Bush proposal takes us in the wrong direction and would only create more problems for North Atlantic right whales, Canada lynx and other imperiled species such as the Atlantic wolffish," said Sean Cosgrove of the Conservation Law Foundation.
The Endangered Species Coalition is a national network of hundreds of conservation, scientific, sporting, religious, humane, business and community groups across the country working to protect our nation's wildlife and wild places.
Earthjustice is the premier nonprofit environmental law organization. We wield the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people’s health, to preserve magnificent places and wildlife, to advance clean energy, and to combat climate change. We are here because the earth needs a good lawyer.