Target: Rep. Doc Hastings, Chairman, National Resources Committee
Goal: Ensure that the Endangered Species Act remains an effective tool for protecting imperiled plants and animals in the U.S.
Republicans in the House of Representatives recently held a series of partisan votes to approve four bills intended to weaken the Endangered Species Act. The Natural Resources Committee, chaired by Rep. Doc Hastings, voted to divert resources and energy away from saving endangered species while voting to impose new, time consuming reporting requirements for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. None of the bills will save a species from extinction or assist with recovery; rather they hinder federal agency efforts, chip away at citizen participation in enforcing the Act and put imperiled species at greater risk of harm from poaching.
One bill, introduced by Rep. Hastings, requires the Fish and Wildlife Service to post all information about listing decisions online, yet releasing geographically specific information may increase the threat of poaching and collecting of some highly endangered species. Another bill arbitrarily defines “best available science” so that any state or local data would automatically be declared “best” even if the data are outdated, unscientific, or rejected by the peer-review process.
The full House of Representatives will likely vote on the bills later in 2014. Urge Rep. Hastings to stop attempting to dismantle the Endangered Species Act, and to put forth measures that will actually help restore populations of imperiled plants and animals.
Dear Rep. Hastings,
I have recently learned of your efforts to dismantle the Endangered Species Act and I am writing to urge you to adopt alternative measures to help save thousands of imperiled plant and animal species from harm, often caused by human activity. All species are connected in complex ways. The extinction of any plant or animal has consequences that are hard to predict and which can cause serious harm to ecosystems and even to human communities.
The four bills recently approved by the National Resources Committee will make it harder for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to effectively work to protect threatened and endangered species across the country, and they limit citizen participation in conservation efforts. Reasonable improvements could be made to the Act, such as fully funding recovery efforts.
I urge you to heed the warnings of countless scientists and conservationists, who point to data that shows how quickly humans are altering their environment and putting many species of plants and animals at risk for extinction. These species are important components of local ecosystems and are critical to our environment. I ask that you give them as much consideration as the lobbyists and commercial interests who work hard to sway your favor in the House of Representatives.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Yathin S. Krishnappa via Wikimedia Commons