Lawmakers in Washington have already taken aim at climate change and now a GOP-led team is attempting to destroy another important part of our environment — The Endangered Species Act.
The House Committee on Natural Resources is meeting on Wednesday to discuss five bills that target at least part of the Endangered Species Act, the 1973 law that was enacted to safeguard threatened species and the habitat critical to their survival. The law was passed to prevent the extinction of animals who are at risk because of the destruction of their natural environment.
The bills require that federal agencies consider the economic effects before granting protection for a species, eliminate ESA protections for nonnative species while mandating that agencies provide affected states all the data they plan to use when determining if a species is actually endangered.
It should be noted that there was strong bipartisan support when the ESA was enacted and it is largely credited with saving the bald eagle and the humpback whale, despite being on the brink of extinction.
The ESA currently provide protections for more than 1,600 plants and animals. However, the act has come under increasing fire from Republicans in recent years. With an anti-science President now in office, the act is on the brink of collapse.
Immediately after President Trump was elected, Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources, said it may be time for lawmakers to “start over again” and “repeal it and replace it.”
“It has never been used for the rehabilitation of species. It’s been used for control of the land,” Bishop told The Associated Press in January. “We’ve missed the entire purpose of the Endangered Species Act. It has been hijacked.”
It’s important to note that only 2.8% of the 1,652 species listed on the endangered species list have been “delisted” because of their ability to thrive under U.S. protections. If the ESA is repealed, it could mean the loss of more than 1,600 animals and plants.
We currently face a near catastrophic loss of flora and fauna around the globe with the extinction rate increased by 1,000 times according to an assessment in 2005.
Scientists and animal researchers have called the GOP-led attack against the EPA a “perfect storm” of stupidity.
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