WASHINGTON January 18, 2017 – The American public supports the continued protection of endangered species and worries that the new Congress will undermine these majority values, according to a new poll of American voters conducted in the wake of the 2016 election that was released today by the Center for American Progress.
According to the poll results, 70% of voters opposed policy initiatives to target iconic species like the gray wolf or greater sage-grouse for removal from protection under the Endangered Species Act, compared with only 22% of poll respondents who supported such initiatives. This ranks legislative efforts to gut the Endangered Species Act second in unpopularity only to the sell-off of federal public lands among environment-related initiatives opposed by the American public.
“Clearly, the public isn’t buying the anti-endangered-species rhetoric that is being peddled by the industries that stand to profit from gutting protections for endangered wildlife,” said Erik Molvar of Western Watersheds Project. “Protecting our native wildlife, and preventing the irresponsible land uses that cause the extinction of rare native species, continues to be a core American value.”
Fine-scale tabulations from the polling reveal that public opposition to dismantling protections for at-risk wildlife cuts across party lines, with majority opposition in every voter category. Some 75% of swing voters opposed dismantling protections for at-risk wildlife, compared to 81% of Clinton voters and 55% of Trump voters. Some 65% of voters expressed concern that the policies of President-elect Trump and the GOP Congress would result in increased extinctions and weaker wildlife protections, with 55% of voters rating this a “very big concern.”
“Already the new Congress is stepping up attacks on the Endangered Species Act with bills that would strip protections for species that are clearly on the brink of extinction based on the science,” said Molvar. “In contrast, American people clearly want to protect our native plants and animals, signaling that the new administration and Congress need to stand up for wildlife protections as well.”