WASHINGTON (July 27, 2011) – The U.S. House of Representatives approved (224-202) an amendment today to the Interior appropriations bill (H.R. 2584) that preserves critical protections for America’s imperiled wildlife. The amendment—introduced by Rep. Norm Dicks (D-WA) and co-sponsored by Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) and Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI)—strikes the so-called “extinction rider,” a provision that would have increased the risk of extinction for imperiled species by blocking protections for adding new species under the Endangered Species Act.
The following is a statement from Rodger Schlickeisen, president of Defenders of Wildlife:
“This is a tremendous victory for our nation’s imperiled wildlife and a testament to strong, bipartisan support for upholding the Endangered Species Act—one of our nation’s most successful and forward-thinking environmental laws. While the Interior appropriations bill contains numerous anti-environmental provisions, it’s very encouraging that, even in this extremely polarized political environment, members of Congress on both sides of the aisle are still willing to stand up for core American values like saving imperiled wildlife from extinction. Thirty-seven Republicans voted for the pro-ESA amendment, but we owe all the men and women who supported it our sincere gratitude for putting our country’s great conservation legacy before partisan politics. We are particularly grateful to Representatives Dicks, Fitzpatrick, Thompson, and Hanabusa for their leadership in offering this amendment.
“Nearly 40 years ago, our nation made a commitment in the form of the Endangered Species Act to preserve the entire web of life for the benefit of our children and grandchildren. Those who led and supported this amendment today to uphold endangered-species protections have shown that they continue to honor America’s commitment to good stewardship. This is a strong signal to Congress and the Obama administration that the American people continue to support the Endangered Species Act and will not allow it to be destroyed on our watch.
“For years, Big Oil, mining, logging, and development interests have been trying to do away with protections for our most imperiled plants and animals. With the help of House leadership, they tried using an appropriations bill to make a sneak attack on these policies. Provisions like the extinction rider are not about cutting the budget, they’re about gutting our most important environmental laws and delivering kickbacks to corporate polluters and special interests. But the majority of House members showed today that they will not tolerate such reckless efforts to dismantle America’s safety net for protecting endangered species.”