Critics Fight ESA During 50th Anniversary Year

**While The Rest of Us Are Celebrating Its Success

By David Robinson, March 30, 2023

Most of us—including government agencies and Congressional representatives–are recognizing the 50th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act this year.

But a few Congressional “experts” have decided this is the opportune time to attack the ESA, which has helped keep 99% of listed species from going extinct.

 For example, three recently introduced Congressional bills would significantly harm the Act and the ongoing efforts to solve the biodiversity crises. There are now 13 anti-ESA bills on the menu.

The newest additions to be considered by the Water, Wildlife and Fisheries Subcommittee include Rep. Lauren Boebert’s (R-Colo.) proposal to remove ESA protections for the gray wolf. A bill from Rep. Harriet Hageman (R-Wyo.) and Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.) would delist Yellowstone and Northern Continental Divide grizzly bears. Rep. Rosendale also has sponsored another bill that would overrule an earlier court decision on the management of threatened and endangered species on public lands.

“These bills represent a disgusting, short-sighted attack from pro-extinction members of Congress eager to see our strongest law for preventing extinction weakened, even if they have to do it one species at a time,” stressed Mary Beth Beetham, legislative director for Defenders of Wildlife. “Congress attacking the Endangered Species Act is also a direct attack on our biodiversity and life as we know it. At this rate, bills damaging the Endangered Species Act are being introduced at a rate of more than one per week.”

Voicing your opinion against these bills is one way you can help recognize the ESA’s special anniversary. Support the groups that are fighting them. Send an email and contact your representatives. You can also participate in the ESA@50 activities organized by the Endangered Species Coalition and its member groups and other organizations.

Remember what the Endangered Species Act has accomplished in the 50 years since President Richard Nixon signed it into law on December 23, 1973. Consider how many more vulnerable species and their precious habitats need protection. Realize that our individual and group efforts are necessary and make a difference.


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