Washington, DC

The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Wildlife and Fisheries today will hold a hearing on the ESA Flexibility Act, a bill that if passed would catastrophically undermine key foundational elements of the Endangered Species Act. 

“This extreme bill is a slap in the face to not only our nation’s critically imperiled species, but also the vast majority of Americans, who have time and time again shown their support for the Endangered Species Act,” said Robert Dewey, vice president of government affairs for Defenders of Wildlife. “As an organization we normally advocate staunchly against extinction, but we hope this bill finds itself without a future. Iconic Endangered Species Act success stories like the American alligator and brown pelican might not exist today had the core elements of this legislation been in place earlier.” 

Introduced by Rep. Pete Stauber (R-MN), H.R. 6784 would allow the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service to issue watered-down protections when they list species as endangered. Currently, endangered species receive full protections from being killed, harmed or harassed after listing. If passed, this bill would let FWS and NMFS substitute weakened protective rules that could allow such species to be killed, harmed, or harassed, even intentionally, and allow threats that led to their endangerment to continue.

Rep. Stauber was also behind the unprecedented attempt to use the Congressional Review Act to delist the Northern long-eared bat, a species that has lost up to 99% of its population in many areas. That piece of legislation was vetoed by President Biden last year. 
 

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.

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