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Daily News Blog

09
Jul

Take Action: Endangered Species Need Protection to Support Biodiversity and Life

(Beyond Pesticides, July 9, 2018) The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) is urging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to take action to protect 23 wildlife species in the Southeast that are at risk of extinction. Citing deep concerns about unprecedented assaults on the Endangered Species Act (ESA), CBD’s letter reiterates the critical need for FWS to provide timely protection to the most critically imperiled species.

Urge FWS to provide Endangered Species Act protection for 23 species in the Southeast. Urge your U.S. Senators and Representative to support the ESA’s scientific review process and protect endangered and threatened species and their habitats.

CBD’s letter highlights the plight of 23 freshwater animals and plants, including the southern snaketail and the sunfacing coneflower, and the failure of FWS to meet its deadlines for issuing proposals on species determined “may warrant protection.” CBD urges FWS to follow the law –to review and publish species protection proposals.

A declining budget and opposition from the Trump administration are stalling these critical protections. The Trump administration has proposed slashing the budget for endangered species listings by half, from $20.5 million to $10.9, and to prioritize delisting species rather than granting protection to new ones. These budget cuts are being proposed despite FWS’s backlog of hundreds of species that have been found to warrant consideration for protection. Since 2000, several southeastern species have been identified as extinct including the beaverpond marstonia snail, Tatum Cave beetle, Florida zestos and rockland grass skipper butterflies, the green blossom, yellow blossom, tubercled blossom, and turgid blossom pearly mussels, the Florida fairy shrimp, and the South Florida rainbow snake. Many of the species CBD petitioned for are still awaiting reviews, while others were withdrawn from the petition.

“Endangered species decisions have long been plagued by delay and political interference, but these problems are becoming a crisis under Trump,” said Tierra Curry, a CBD senior scientist. “Rather than following the law and reviewing the status of species like the southern snaketail, the administration wants to push them out the back door and ignore those at risk of extinction.”

Attacks on ESA have been a regular occurrence since the inauguration of the U.S. Congress on January 3, 2017. This Congress already has seen at least 63 legislative attacks seeking to strip federal protections from specific species or undercutting the Endangered Species Act. Among the attacks is a provision in the House version of the 2018 Farm Bill to exempt the use of pesticides from ESA review, threatening hundreds of endangered species and making it legal to kill any endangered species with a pesticide at almost any time.

With species decline increasing across the globe, it is critical that we protect those already at heightened risk. An important provision of ESA is the requirement that each federal agency that proposes to authorize, fund, or carry out an action that may affect a listed species or its critical habitat must consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service. Although many species –including the bald eagle, Florida manatee, and California condor— have been protected and brought back from the brink of extinction under the ESA, an estimated 500 species have disappeared in the past 200 years.

Urge FWS to provide Endangered Species Act protection for 23 species in the Southeast. Urge your U.S. Senators and Representative to support the ESA’s scientific review process and protect endangered and threatened species and their habitats.

Letter to FWS:

I am writing in support of the June 8, 2018 letter from the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) urging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to take action to protect 23 wildlife species in the Southeast that are at risk of extinction. I reiterate the critical need stated by CBD for FWS to provide timely protection to the most critically imperiled species.

CBD’s review of 61 species in a petition submitted in 2010 found that –based on information provided by FWS, current information on the species from scientists, published literature, Freedom of Information Act materials, and conservation organizations— 23 of the species are at risk of extinction.

I support CBD’s analysis and urge FWS to complete listing for the 23 species listed in the letter.

Thank you for your consideration of this letter.

Letter to Congressional Senators and Representatives:

A declining budget and opposition from the Trump administration are stalling critical protections for endangered species. The Trump administration has proposed slashing the budget for endangered species listings by half, from $20.5 million to $10.9, and to prioritize delisting species rather than granting protection to new ones. These budget cuts are being proposed despite FWS’s backlog of hundreds of species that have been found to warrant consideration for protection. Since 2000, several southeastern species have been identified as extinct including the beaverpond marstonia snail, Tatum Cave beetle, Florida zestos and rockland grass skipper butterflies, the green blossom, yellow blossom, tubercled blossom, and turgid blossom pearly mussels, the Florida fairy shrimp, and the South Florida rainbow snake.

Attacks on the Endangered Species Act (ESA) have been a regular occurrence in the 115th United States Congress. This Congress already has seen at least 63 legislative attacks seeking to strip federal protections from specific species or undercutting the ESA, among them a provision in the House version of the 2018 Farm Bill to exempt the use of pesticides from ESA review, which threatens hundreds of endangered species, and makes it legal to kill any endangered species with a pesticide at almost any time.

With species decline increasing across the globe, it is critical that we protect those already at heightened risk. An important provision of the ESA is the requirement that each federal agency that proposes to authorize, fund, or carry out an action that may affect a listed species or its critical habitat must consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service. Although many species –including the bald eagle, Florida manatee, and California condor— have been protected and brought back from the brink of extinction under the ESA, an estimated 500 species have disappeared in the past 200 years.

Therefore, I request that you support adequate funding for the ESA’s scientific review process and reject legislative proposals that jeopardize FWS’s ability to carry out its responsibility to protect endangered and threatened species and their habitats.

Sincerely,

 

 

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