September 18, 2019

Harris, Feinstein, Colleagues Introduce Bill to Protect Endangered Species

Bill would reverse Trump Administration’s changes to the ESA that will exacerbate the extinction crisis

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Kamala D. Harris (D-CA) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) on Tuesday joined Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) and 7 of their colleagues in introducing legislation to repeal three Trump administration final rule changes to the Endangered Species Act, which taken together will fundamentally change the way we protect threatened and endangered species.

“The administration’s decision to roll back vital protections under the Endangered Species Act is flat out wrong,” said Senator Harris. “As climate change continues to threaten the future of our environment and planet, one million species remain at risk of extinction. I’m proud to co-sponsor a bill that doesn’t cater to special interests and instead works to protect our endangered species and habitats. Congress must take action immediately to ensure that the precious species across our country are protected.”

“The U.N. estimates that nearly 1 million species are at risk of extinction because of the effects of climate change. Now is not the time to back away from this monumental challenge,” said Senator Feinstein. “The Endangered Species Act has a proven track record of bringing species back from the brink of extinction, and we can’t afford to undercut it now.”

Under Trump’s rules, the administration can ignore long-term threats to wildlife from climate change and remove guaranteed protections to threatened species listed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, essentially nullifying the protective value of a threatened listing.

The ESA is a remarkably successful law: 99% of species listed under the ESA have not gone extinct, and the ESA continues to enjoy bipartisan support across the country. Members of the public submitted hundreds of thousands of comments decrying Trump’s proposed changes during a public comment period earlier this year.

In addition to Harris, Feinstein, and Udall the Protect America’s Wildlife and Fish in Need of Conservation Act was cosponsored by U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Bernard Sanders (I-VT), and Bob Menendez (D-NJ).

The full text of the legislation is available HERE.