A Key Wildlife Law Faces Damaging Change
The Trump administration is seeking to change the Endangered Species Act in ways that will diminish 45 years of protections for jeopardized species and remove habitat protections that keep roads, pipelines, oil wells, and other development out of diminishing wildlife habitat. The administration says it is streamlining the law, but in fact it is threatening to turn the nation into a corporate-driven endangered-species factory.
The Endangered Species Act: A Success
The federal Endangered Species Act has provided essential protection for vanishing species and their habitat, saving 99 percent of listed species from extinction. Here in Virginia—home to four bird species now protected under the act: the Piping Plover, Roseate Tern, Red-cockaded Woodpecker and Kirtland's Warbler - we can witness this effectiveness in our own skies. Any birder who lived in Northern Virginia in the early 1980s, as the Endangered Species Act completed its first decade, can recall the rarity then of spotting a Bald Eagle in this area. An eagle sighting over the Potomac was significant enough that the Washington Post might report on it. Today, the Bald Eagle nests along waterways throughout Northern Virginia, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials removed it from the Endangered and Threatened Species List in 2007. Once nearly wiped out in the lower 48 states, this raptor stands out as testimony to the effectiveness of the Endangered Species Act, backed by federal eagle protection laws, migratory bird laws, and certain federal pesticide bans.
Fight Back for the Endangered Species Act
Please contact your representative in the House and your senators to express your views about ensuring that the federal Endangered Species Act continues to protect our natural heritage for generations to come. For further information on contacting elected officials, go here. Also send comments to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service, which are giving the public until September 24th to comment. You can send comments by going here. Remind them that the law has helped to restore a wide range of species, from whooping cranes to wolves; that it protects habitat, which in turn creates a safer world for human residents; and that it has served as a model for conservation throughout the world. For more information, visit the National Audubon Society website.