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The Endangered Species Act (ESA) is in the fight of its life.
Powerful members of Congress have leveled attack after attack on the landmark legislation and it now faces an imminent threat that could be its undoing.
Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) is pushing forward with a bill to rewrite the ESA that would open the door to harmful provisions that could undermine the law, strip it of its effectiveness and compromise the role of science in the protection of endangered species.
We cannot let the last line of defense against extinction for the gray wolf, the North Atlantic right whale, the Florida panther and so many more be eviscerated.
Senator Barrasso's expected bill could be the linchpin that undoes the ESA.
Tell your senators to oppose Barrasso's bill and all efforts to rewrite the ESA.
I am writing as a constituent of yours to ask you to stand strong on the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and oppose all efforts to rewrite or "modernize" America's landmark wildlife conservation law, which serves as our last line of defense in preventing permanent species extinction. Specifically, I urge you not to support an anticipated ESA rewrite bill by Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) that is unnecessary, likely to be damaging, and would ultimately open the door to a myriad of dangerous attacks on this bedrock statute.
The ESA is one of our nation's most effective and popular conservation laws on the books, touting a 99% success rate in preventing extinction. It has saved species like the American bald eagle, the California condor, the brown pelican and the Florida manatee from irrevocable extinction. Polling from 2015 shows that 90% of voters support the law, including 94% of self-identified liberals, 94% of self-identified moderates and 82% of self-identified conservatives. It is also tremendously flexible, requiring that federal, state, tribal and local officials work together to protect endangered wildlife. The ESA's tremendous record of success can be further enhanced through improved implementation of the law. There is no need for any legislative changes to the statute.
Yet, in spite of the ESA's enormous success and popularity, members of the 115th Congress have their sights set on reauthorizing or "modernizing" this important law. This would open the door to harmful provisions that would undermine the effectiveness of the law and compromise the role of science in species protection decisions. Since 2015, legislators in both the House and Senate have introduced over 150 legislative proposals that would severely undermine the conservation of threatened and endangered species under the ESA. None of these proposals would contribute to species conservation.
Given the current hostility in Congress directed at our nation's wildlife, any attempts to open the ESA legislatively would place this successful law at risk of being severely weakened, if not completely obliterated. These "reform" efforts are not a reflection of the will of the American people who support the ESA and want the recovery of our most imperiled species to be left to scientists — not politicians.
I urge you to do everything you can to oppose congressional efforts to rewrite this landmark law and protect threatened and endangered species for generations to come.