More than 150 conservation groups have signed a letter to President Obama asking him to oppose all policy “riders” that would undermine the Endangered Species Act during negotiations on final funding legislation for Fiscal Year 2016.
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Congressional attacks on the Endangered Species Act and other critical environmental protections have increased with alarming frequency in recent years, and both the Senate and the House of Representatives included a record number of riders that weaken the Endangered Species Act in appropriations bills to fund the Department of the Interior for Fiscal Year 2016. These riders would remove vital protections for species at risk of extinction, prevent future protection for imperiled species, and otherwise dramatically undermine the Endangered Species Act.
This letter follows two recent letters from both the House and the Senate in which 92 members of the House and 25 senators, respectively, urged the president to steadfastly reject all riders that undermine the Endangered Species Act in Fiscal Year 2016 spending legislation.
From the conservation groups’ letter released today:
“The conservation challenges America faces today are far greater and more complex than they were when the Endangered Species Act was enacted over four decades ago. We face the reality of climate change and other enormous threats to our planet’s biodiversity—which in turn threaten our own survival as a species. Scientists predict that as many as 30 to 50 percent of all species could be heading toward extinction by mid-century. Clearly, now is not the time to weaken the best tool our nation has to combat the planet’s sixth great wave of extinction.”
“As your Administration works with Congress to negotiate the Fiscal Year 2016 omnibus appropriations bill, we urge you to flatly reject all riders that undermine the Endangered Species Act in any way, including weakening or preventing protection for specific species. These harmful measures have no place in the appropriations context and only serve to chip away at one of America’s most popular and effective environmental laws. We look forward to working with your Administration to uphold the Endangered Species Act, continuing the legacy of conservation for which this great country is known.”
Read the full letter.