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Press Release: 25 Democratic Senators Urge Obama to Oppose Endangered Species Attacks in Budget Agreement

Center for Biological Diversity – November 5, 2015

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For Immediate Release, November 5, 2015

Contact: Jamie Pang, (202) 347-3737, jpang@biologicaldiversity.org

25 Democratic Senators Urge Obama to Oppose Endangered Species Attacks in Budget Agreement

WASHINGTON— In an effort to derail escalating legislative attacks on the Endangered Species Act, 25 senators sent a letter to President Obama today voicing their opposition to proposed riders in the current budget negotiations that would weaken protections for endangered species, including ending federal protections for gray wolves. The letter was spearheaded by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), ranking member of the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee, and Senator Cory Booker, (D-N.J.) ranking member of the Subcommittee on Oversight within Environment and Public Works. The letter complements one led by Ranking Member Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) of House Natural Resources Committee last month, also asking Obama to veto any funding bills that contain policy riders that harm endangered species.

“Politicians should stick to politics rather than using cheap negotiating tricks to make life-or-death decisions about which endangered species get protection and which don’t,” said Jamie Pang, endangered species campaigner at the Center for Biological Diversity. “We hope the president will stay strong in opposing undemocratic, anti-environmental riders being pushed by the oil and gas industry and other special interests in Congress.”

Both the House and Senate bills to fund the Department of the Interior include language to strip endangered species protections for the gray wolf, as well as for many other species. The senators are calling for these riders to be stripped from any final budget deal, stating “we urge you to flatly reject all riders that would undermine Endangered Species Act protections for particular species or otherwise erode the Act.”

Despite overwhelming public support for the Endangered Species Act and the species it protects, the law is under unprecedented attack in Congress. Earlier this year the Center released a report documenting a 600 percent increase in Republican-led legislative attacks on endangered species since the landmark Citizen's United Supreme Court ruling.

“In the face of overwhelming public support for protection of endangered species and the environment, Republican members of Congress have increasingly tried to erode protections through riders that never see public debate or come to a stand-alone vote,” said Pang. “This kind of cynical backroom dealing does a disservice not only to our wildlife but in how our government is supposed to operate.”

In June President Obama threatened to veto any budget legislation that rolls back environmental protections or protections for endangered species including the gray wolf.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 900,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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