Interior Appropriations & Defense Authorization Act Vehicles of Assault on Endangered Species Act

“Attacks by anti-wildlife members of Congress on the Endangered Species Act (ESA) have been especially brutal and can only be likened to a double barrel shotgun assault on the wildlife and wild places we hold dear. These members of Congress  are out of line, and using  their political might to overturn and destroy policies and laws that are founded on decades of science and rigorous study.”

Robert Dewey, Defenders of Wildlife, Vice President of Government Relations.  
Washington, DC

In a stunning abuse of power, the House Appropriations Committee Majority released its FY24 Interior Appropriations bill which is riddled with destructive riders that attack wildlife and conservation protections for species ranging from northern long-eared bats to bison to magnificent gray wolves.

“Attacks by anti-wildlife members of Congress on the Endangered Species Act (ESA) have been especially brutal and can only be likened to a double barrel shotgun assault on the wildlife and wild places we hold dear,” said Robert Dewey, Defenders of Wildlife, Vice President of Government Relations.  “These members of Congress  are out of line, and using  their political might to overturn and destroy policies and laws that are founded on decades of science and rigorous study.”

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Larry Temple

Adding insult to injury, the House of Representatives is expected to vote this week on Rep. Biggs (R-AZ) Amendment #375  to the National Defense Authorization Act that will exempt defense related activity from the ESA. 

“We are beyond appalled that the Department of Defense may not be required to comply with  the ESA and can only assume that if Rep. Biggs amendment is adopted it could be a first step in broad-scale roll-backs of  common-sense laws needed to ensure a world where  wildlife can be seen outside of a natural history museum.” 

  • Funding for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service overall is cut by $236 million below FY 23 levels.  Riders in the House Interior Appropriations bill, specific to attacks on ESA include language that: 
  • Continues the long-standing rider preventing  ESA protections for the greater sage grouse and  the Columbia basin distinct population segment of the greater sage-grouse.
  • Blocks the Interior secretary from using appropriated money to list a genetically distinct population of greater sage grouse found only in California and Nevada.
  • Removes the gray wolf from ESA protections.
  • Block introduction of the grizzly bear into the North Cascades.
  • Blocks a rule change from being implemented that increases protections for  the northern long-eared bat from threatened to endangered.
  •  Blocks funding to implement ESA protections for the lesser prairie chicken.
  •  Finalizes a flawed 2021 ESA rule that blocks certain consultations for some land management plans on Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands.
     

Defenders of Wildlife is celebrating 75 years of protecting all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With a nationwide network of nearly 2.2 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit defenders.org/newsroom and follow us on Twitter @Defenders.

Media Contact

Vice President for Government Relations
(202) 682-9400

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