FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Haley McKey, 202-772-0247, email@example.com
WASHINGTON (July 26, 2017) – Today, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved the Hunting Heritage and Environmental Legacy Preservation (HELP) for Wildlife Act, S. 1514.
S. 1514 undermines key principles of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by allowing politicians to determine which wildlife species receive protections and which do not. It legislatively delists wolves in the Great Lakes region and reaffirms a court decision that returned wolves in Wyoming to state management. S. 1514 also undermines the rule of law and citizens’ ability to go to court to challenge government actions by prohibiting judicial review of these delisting determinations.
The bill also bars the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating lead fishing tackle use, endangering wildlife and humans.
Though Ranking Member Carper (D-DE) offered an amendment to strike the wolf riders from the bill, the amendment was not successful. The bill now moves out of committee and could come to the Senate floor for a vote at any time.
Statement from Defenders of Wildlife President and CEO, Jamie Rappaport Clark:
“The so-called HELP for Wildlife Act is a misnomer. In fact, S. 1514 strips away existing protections for wildlife and undermines our most important tool in the battle to fight extinction – the Endangered Species Act. Legislatively delisting wolves and prohibiting the EPA from regulating lead fishing tackle are toxic proposals that cannot be accepted by pro-conservation members of Congress. No matter how many sweeteners are added, defending the integrity of our bedrock environmental laws such as the Endangered Species Act should be the number one priority in a Congress marked by chaos and attacks on our most basic environmental protections.
“Deciding which species need protections is a job for scientists, not Congress. By removing judicial review, Senator Barrasso and those who support this bill are not only attacking our wildlife, they are attacking our rights as citizens to go to court to hold the government accountable for unlawful action.
“This bill sets an unnerving precedent of attacks on our shared American values of wildlife conservation and preventing extinction.
“We thank Sen Carper for introducing an amendment to scrap the harmful wolf riders from this bill. However, we are extremely disappointed that his amendment was not successful and that this legislation passed the committee 14 to 7. We call on wildlife champions in the Senate to vote down this bill.”
Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With nearly 1.2 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 Newsroom.Defenders.org and follow us on Twitter @DefendersNews.