Washington, D.C. May 22, 2019  – In celebration of International Biodiversity Day, Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) introduced a bill this morning to protect species that face extreme risk of extinction. The Extinction Prevention Act of 2019 provides much-needed funding for some of the most imperiled wildlife species in the United States.

“It’s unthinkable for Congress to hear of a million species being at risk of extinction without acting,” Grijalva said today. “Many of the most serious risks come from habitat destruction, climate change and other human impacts on the natural world. We can’t live without the oxygen and food produced by the other living things on this planet, so let’s do ourselves a favor and protect them before it’s too late.”

Original cosponsors include Reps. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.), Darren Soto (D-Fla.), Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.), Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Ed Case (D-Hawaii), Jeff Van Drew (D-N.J.), Gregorio Sablan (D-CM), and Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.).

Grijalva’s bill protects North American butterflies, Pacific Island plants, freshwater mussels, and Southwest desert fish, among other species at the highest risk of extinction. Among other measures, the bill:

  • Provides financial resources for on-the-ground projects to conserve species, protect ecosystems, and address threats to species survival.
  • Authorizes $5 million annually for each species group to put towards conservation projects related to restoration, protection and management of ecosystems, research and monitoring of populations, development and implementation of management plans, enforcement and implementation of applicable conservation laws, and community outreach and education.
  • Makes state, territory, tribal, or any other entity with the expertise required for the conservation of the particular species group eligible for species conservation funding.

The full text of the legislation is available at https://bit.ly/2WWJzql.

Grijalva’s bill – one of more than a dozen the Committee has started the process of advancing under his chairmanship – comes on the heels of the publication of the Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity And Ecosystem Services by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, which found that one million species are at risk of extinction.

The Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife is hosting a hearing today at 10:00 a.m. on the Global Assessment Report to highlight the findings and the need to protect biodiversity. The hearing will feature testimony from Sir Robert Watson, the chair of the team that authored the report.

The hearing will be livestreamed at http://bit.ly/2Q5gEhs.

A video released by the Natural Resources Committee in advance of the hearing can be viewed at https://bit.ly/2YGhBQb.

Grijalva’s bill is widely supported by environmental groups.

“We are at a critical point for many species of wildlife and wild places, as shown by a recent U.N. report noting one million animal and plant species are threatened with extinction. We need to take direct action to address this crisis. Thank you to Representative Grijalva for calling attention to the problem and proposing a solution that will help us protect our nation’s wildlife.”  – Dan Ashe, President and CEO of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums

“Today, just in time for International Biodiversity Day, Earthjustice is thrilled to see Chairman Grijalva and his colleagues take these important steps in responding to the devastating UN biodiversity report by proposing the Extinction Prevention Act. This legislation would allow for dedicated funding to help conserve threatened and endangered butterflies, freshwater mussels, southwestern fish, and endemic island plants. We applaud the Chairman’s leadership in responding to the urgent demands of the extinction crisis. We urge Congress to continue taking further ambitious steps to address this worldwide emergency and protect the survival of our fellow species and humans alike.” – Marjorie Mulhall, Legislative Director for Lands, Wildlife, and Oceans at Earthjustice

“This bill gives our most critically imperiled animals and plants a fighting chance to survive the extinction crisis. The Endangered Species Act has successfully saved hundreds of at-risk species despite being starved for funds for decades. Resources provided by Chair Grijalva’s legislation would help ensure that this endangered wildlife continues to remain part of America’s natural heritage.” – Noah Greenwald, Endangered Species Program Director at the Center for Biological Diversity

“The recent UN report on the alarming state of global biodiversity drove home the serious challenges wildlife face.  By focusing funding and attention on these long-overlooked groups of species, from hundreds of species on the edge in Hawaii to butterflies across North America, Congress is sending an important message about the value of protecting species and habitats to prevent further extinctions.” – Dr. Jacob Malcom, Director of the Center for Conservation Innovation at Defenders of Wildlife

“The complex web of biodiversity cannot function without a vast array of species. However, conservation efforts often focus on large and charismatic animals. Chair Grijalva’s Extinction Prevention Act directs crucial attention and funding to small, vital, and often overlooked varieties of wildlife, and will help maintain healthy and thriving ecosystems.” – Cathy Liss, President of the Animal Welfare Institute

“We applaud Chairman Grijalva for taking quick action in response to the United Nation’s staggering report on the extinction crisis. With 1 million species facing extinction, this bill is an important first step to help bring needed resources to the most underfunded of our country’s endangered plants and wildlife. We look forward to working with the Chairman on aggressive and expansive initiatives needed to reverse trends in biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse.” – Nora Apter, Legislative Advocate for the Natural Resources Defense Council

“We thank Chairman Grijalva for introducing this important legislation to protect vitally-important but vanishing species like butterflies and mussels. We must take action to prevent extinction before it’s too late.” – Leda Huta, Executive Director of the Endangered Species Coalition