Washington, D.C. July 12, 2018 – Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva today said that House Republicans’ announcement this afternoon of a suite of nine bills that gut the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is part of their undisguised years-long pattern of pushing unpopular, environmentally destructive favors for corporate supporters. Grijalva questioned the thinking behind Republicans’ in-your-face partisan destruction of one of America’s bedrock environmental laws.
Without the ESA, Grijalva pointed out, species like grizzly bears, gray wolves and bald eagles would never have recovered from their drastic, human-caused population declines. Grijalva questioned Republicans’ frequent insistence that the law needs major reforms given the ESA’s notable successes and the fact that 90 percent of listed species are recovering within their scientifically expected timeframes.
“Republicans in Congress are scamming the public as a favor for their corporate supporters, not making serious policy, and there’s no reason it should advance any further,” Grijalva said today. “To judge by their actions rather than their words, the only things they see when they look at the natural world is dollars that aren’t in their pockets yet. They don’t seem to care how many endangered species have to die for them to build one more mine, dig one more oil well or install one more pipeline. They have sacrificed every other value we hold dear in the pursuit of a quick buck, and they’re doing a poor job of hiding it.”
Despite constant, misleading Republican rhetoric to the contrary, the law already allows for flexibility in protecting endangered wildlife and requires that federal, state, tribal and local officials work together to prevent extinction. Species are only listed under the ESA after state management has proved insufficient to protect habitat and prevent extinction, calling into question Republicans’ rote demands for state authority.