Congressman Launches Effort to Take Down the Endangered Species Act

Pombo bill would strip America's wildlife of essential protection


Susan Holmes, Earthjustice: (202) 667-4500


Todd True, Earthjustice, 206-343-7340 ex 30


Mike Sherwood, Earthjustice, 510-550-6700


Zeke Grader, PCFFA, 415-561-5080

U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Resources Chairman Richard Pombo, long a foe of the Endangered Species Act, introduced a bill today that would significantly weaken protections for our nation’s fish, plants, wildlife, and the places they call home. Mr. Pombo plans to hold a committee hearing on Wednesday, September 21 and the legislation could be on the floor of the House as early as the week of September 26.

Read the text of the bill. (pdf file)

Read an analysis of the bill. (pdf file)

The following are statements regarding the Pombo bill by Earthjustice attorneys, a senior legislative representative, and a client whose livelihood depends on a strong Endangered Species Act.

“This bill would put corporations, developers, and other powerful special interests in the position of deciding whether endangered species live or die,” said Susan Holmes, senior legislative representative for Earthjustice. “We have a responsibility to protect America’s wildlife for future generations, and not squander our heritage for short-term gains.”

“People who say the Endangered Species Act doesn’t work are overlooking the great economic benefit restored salmon runs have brought to California’s Sacramento River,” said Earthjustice attorney Mike Sherwood. “They’re also forgetting the progress that’s been made in restoring the sea otters off our coast and Yellowstone National Park’s grizzly bear population. The Endangered Species Act is one of the greatest American success stories ever told but there are many more chapters to come because recovery of wildlife, and the places they live, takes time.”

“America is special because of our rich natural resources and wildlife,”said Earthjustice attorney Todd True. “But this new bill is not for all Americans; it’s for a special few. It’s not about fixing a law that’s broken; it’s about breaking the back of a law that has protected people and the wildlife we love — from the bald eagle to the sea otter. Talk to a commercial salmon fisherman in the Pacific Northwest about what the Endangered Species Act means. He’ll tell you his job depends on it.”

Earthjustice represents the Pacifica Coast Federation of Fishermen’s in multiple legal efforts all aimed at restoring abundant salmon runs on the west coast. PCFFA’s executive director reacted to news today.

“Californian fishermen, both sport and commercial, are wondering why congressmen are pushing to wipe out protections that restored cool, clean water to the Sacramento River and the multi million dollar salmon fishery there,” said Zeke Grader of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations.

The Endangered Species Act is America’s premier conservation law. It has a near-perfect success rate in preventing the extinction of our nation’s most imperiled plants and animals. Without it, the condor, bald eagle, wolf, grizzly bear, Florida panther, manatee and hundreds of other species would be extinct today. The Endangered Species Act is also moving species toward full recovery at a rapid rate.

Though most of the 1,300 endangered species have been protected for less than half the time identified by federal biologists as necessary to recover them, nearly 70 percent are stable or improving. The Key deer, American crocodile, Guadalupe fur seal, southern sea otter, brown pelican, Mississippi sandhill crane, Kirtland’s warbler, whooping crane, California least tern, and least Bell’s vireo are just a few of the hundreds of endangered species whose populations number have grown dramatically since being placed on the endangered species list.

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