Quantcast
Popular
Orcas have been listed as endangered species in both the U.S. and Canada. Miles Ritter / Flickr

Endangered Species Act Protections in House Committee Crosshairs

One of our nation's core environmental safeguards is at risk of being hollowed out, as the House Natural Resources Committee takes up legislation Wednesday to weaken the Endangered Species Act.

Starting at 11 a.m. ET, the committee is voting on five bills that aim to weaken a variety of protections offered by the flagship conservation law. A detailed description of each proposal is included in this letter of opposition.


With this committee markup, the Endangered Species Act faces possible erosion in a variety of ways. For example, the law currently uses best-available science as the basis for protecting species under the act. Yet the proposed "Listing Reform Act" (H.R. 717) would subvert this foundational, science-based premise, enabling federal agencies to deny protections based on economic impacts.

Similarly, the "Gray Wolf State Management Act" (H.R. 424)—dubbed the "War on Wolves Act" by opponents—seeks to override a unanimous DC Circuit Court of Appeals decision regarding gray wolves in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Those upper Midwest wolf populations would be stripped of existing Endangered Species Act protections under this legislation. This bill would also codify a recent DC Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that stripped federal protections for wolves in Wyoming. It would also prohibit judicial review of both legislative wolf delistings, and thus sets a damaging trend for undermining all laws that allow citizens from across the political spectrum to go to court to hold the government accountable for its actions.

Legislative threats to the Endangered Species Act have spurred widespread social media backlash.

Last week, Hollywood stars Debra Messing, Jane Lynch, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Alan Cumming, Lance Bass and others joined the chorus by highlighting the issue of political attacks on the Endangered Species Act in a series of Instagram posts.

"The Endangered Species Act is one of our nation's most effective, popular laws," Marjorie Mulhall, Earthjustice's legislative director for lands, wildlife and oceans, said in a statement.

"These noxious attacks on imperiled wildlife violate the spirit of its enactment, which was to conserve irreplaceable, imperiled species and the ecosystems they depend on. With scientists now warning that we have entered a wave of mass extinctions, federal protections for imperiled plants and wildlife are needed more urgently than ever before. Politicians should be finding ways to strengthen the Endangered Species Act, not render it toothless."

Show Comments ()
Sponsored
An aerial view of of the Power County wind farm in Power County, Idaho. U.S. Department of Energy / Flickr

Who’s Behind a Letter Asking Congress to End the Wind Production Tax Credit?

By Dave Anderson

A new letter asking Congress to end the wind production tax credit has ties to the Institute for Energy Research, a group that has received funding from the fossil fuel and utility industry and is a close ally of the Trump administration.

The Energy and Policy Institute downloaded a pdf of the letter from WindAction.org, an anti-wind website run by the New Hampshire-based Lisa Linowes. A look at the "Document Properties" seemed to identify "Chris Warren" as the "Author" of the file:

Keep reading... Show less

Victory! Monsanto Shill Michael Dourson Withdraws After Public Outcry

The Center for Food Safety heralded reports that Michael Dourson, President Trump's controversial nominee to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, Wednesday withdrew his nomination after senators raised concerns over his past work and conflicts of interest.

"Dourson is a long-time pesticide industry shill, with a history of manipulating scientific research to benefit corporate special interests. He was a dangerous, irresponsible choice to oversee chemical safety at the EPA," said Andrew Kimbrell, executive director a Center for Food Safety.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
Cap Sciences / Flickr

Electronic Waste Study Finds $65 Billion in Raw Materials Discarded in Just One Year

The amount of electronic waste around the world grew to a record 45 million tons in 2016, according to a United Nations-backed study released on Wednesday.

To put that in perspective, the weight of last year's e-waste was equivalent to about 4,500 Eiffel Towers, according to the study by the UN university, the International Telecommunication Union and the International Solid Waste Association. The amount of e-waste—defined as anything with a plug or a battery—rose by eight percent since 2014, the time of the last assessment.

Keep reading... Show less
An important fishing port of the French Atlantic Island Ile d'Oleron is Port La Cotinière. Robert Schüller / Flickr

Fishing Limits Set Too High Again by Council of the EU

As their annual end-to-the-year meeting closed on Dec. 13, the 28 fisheries ministers who sit on the Council of the European Union again set some fishing limits for Atlantic Ocean and North Sea stocks higher than scientists had advised and higher than the European Commission had proposed. Council deliberations went through the night and officials have not yet made all the details available on how 2018 fishing limits were calculated.

As in previous years, participants in the Council meeting announced that good progress had been made towards achieving the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) deadline to end overfishing by 2020. We can only hope the figures bear out this optimism when a full analysis comparing the decisions to scientific advice is completed.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Screenshot / White House Video

President Just Signed Bill That Says Climate Change a National Security Risk, But Does He Know That?

By Angela Ledford Anderson

President Donald Trump signed the National Defense Authorization Act into law Tuesday. The act would require the Pentagon to do a report on how military installations and overseas staff may be vulnerable to climate change over the next 20 years.

Keep reading... Show less

'The Wrong Mine in the Wrong Place': Former Republican EPA Administrators Blast Alaska Mining Project

By Taryn Kiekow Heimer

An U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator under every Republican presidential administration since the EPA was created, except the Ford administration, whose administrator is deceased, have joined forces to make a statement in opposition to the Pebble Mine proposed in Bristol Bay, Alaska. Their statement appeared Tuesday as a full-page ad in the Washington Post.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
2017 Toyota Prius Prime Premium. motortrend.com

Toyota Urged to Reject Tainted 'Partnership' Claimed by Destructive EPA Chief

The Environmental Working Group is urging Toyota to reject a partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), because EPA chief Scott Pruitt's plan to "evaluate management practices" is cover for his real agenda of destroying the agency's ability to do its job.

In a letter sent Wednesday to James Lentz, CEO of Toyota North America, EWG President Ken Cook wrote that helping Pruitt "manage EPA into the ground" would betray the ideals of quality, effectiveness and efficiency represented by the vaunted "Toyota Way" and the company's reputation for and commitment to environmental responsibility.

Keep reading... Show less
A storm cell dumps rain in rural western Illinios. Tom Gill / Flickr

Extreme Storms to Multiply, Intensify Across U.S., New Simulations Suggest

By Tim Radford

For the U.S., harder rain is on the way: America's summer thunderstorms are about to get stormier. Later this century, the notorious mesoscale convective storms of middle America will not just darken skies—they will also dump as much as 80 percent more water on the farms, highways and cities of the 48 contiguous states.

Mesoscale thunderstorms cover an area of around 100 kilometers (approximately 62 miles): these have been on the increase, both in frequency and intensity, in the last 35 years and new research suggests that, as the world warms, their frequency could triple.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!