Republicans Attack Endangered Species In Funding Bill

On behalf of their corporate masters, Senate Republicans attacked the gray wolf, lesser prairie chicken and the Endangered Species Act by attaching more than a dozen poison-pill riders to legislation to fund the Department of the Interior for 2018.

The riders introduced by Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Sen. Lisa Murkowsi (R-Alaska) include a provision that would end protections for gray wolves in the western Great Lakes states despite two court decisions upholding protections for this endangered species. The legislation would also pro­hibit the Fish and Wildlife Service from taking any action to save the lesser prairie chicken from extinc­tion.

“Senate Republicans just launched a disgusting sneak attack on America’s most imperiled wildlife,” said Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “This legislation is deeply out of touch with the American people, who overwhelmingly support endangered wildlife. The Republican riders are a cynical effort to advance special interests at the expense of animals on the brink of extinction.”

The legislation also seeks to weaken the consulta­tion process on Forest Service lands by eliminating a long-standing requirement to consider how to min­imize harms to newly listed species and their criti­cal habitat on those lands. Under the legislation, the Forest Service would only have to consult when it writes or revises its land management plans — ac­tions that occur only once every few decades.

“Senator Murkowski seems happy to let wildlife go extinct if it helps the timber industry or other pollut­ers make more profits on our public lands. This bill should be rejected as the travesty it is,” said Hartl.

Since January Congressional Republicans have in­troduced at least 60 attacks against the Endangered Species Act or particular endangered species. Since the Republican takeover of the House of Represen­tatives in 2011, more than 325 attacks have been launched. These attacks continue despite the fact that nine out of 10 Americans support the Endan­gered Species Act and want it either strengthened or left unchanged by Congress, according to a 2015 poll.