July 7, 2015

Defenders of Wildlife: Melanie Gade – (202) 772-0288;

Earthjustice: Liz Judge – (415) 217-2007-

New National Poll Finds 90 Percent of American Voters Support the Endangered Species Act

WASHINGTON – A robust majority of Americans supports the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and are more likely to vote for a member of Congress who votes to uphold environmental safeguards, according to a new poll conducted by Tulchin Research. These poll results arrive as the U.S. House of Representatives votes on the Department of the Interior spending bill which includes more than 25 anti-environmental “riders”, including political attacks that undermine the Endangered Species Act and block vital species protections.

The poll, conducted in June for Defenders of Wildlife and Earthjustice, shows that 90 percent of Americans support upholding the Endangered Species Act. Other poll results:

  • Sixty-eight percent (68%) of registered voters are more likely to vote for a member of Congress who supports environmental safeguards like the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act.

  • Nearly three-fourths (71%) of registered voters believe that decisions about which species should or should not be protected under the Endangered Species Act should be made by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists, not by members of Congress.

  • Sixty-six percent (66%) of respondents reject the false choice between jobs or economy and protection of species and agree that the law is necessary to prevent species from going extinct. This plurality believes we can protect our natural heritage for future generations while growing our economy and creating jobs. Less than one-fourth (24%) agree with critics who contend that the law hurts our economy and destroys jobs.

Jamie Rappaport Clark, President and CEO of Defenders of Wildlife, issued the following statement:

“Congress is on the wrong side of public opinion on this issue. The vast majority of Americans strongly believe in upholding the Endangered Species Act and that’s what they want their elected officials to do. But that’s not what is happening. What we are witnessing in Congress today is a full-fledged attack on our bedrock environmental laws – the Endangered Species Act, The Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act. We need a Congress that puts the best interests of the American public before the wishes of polluters and special interests.”

Trip Van Noppen, President of Earthjustice, issued the following statement:

“Congress passed the Endangered Species Act with an overwhelming bipartisan majority more than 40 years ago. And an overwhelming majority of Americans continue to support the goals of this vital law. This Congress is obviously listening to Big Oil and other special interests – not the American public – in its mad dash to deny protections for endangered species.” 


From June 25-29, 2015, Tulchin Research conducted a scientific survey online among a representative sample of 600 registered voters across the United States. The margin of error for this survey is +/- 4 percentage points.

This Congress has already established itself as one of the most environmentally hostile congresses in history. Since January, Members of Congress have introduced over 50 proposals that would cripple endangered species conservation. Some legislative proposals put specific imperiled wildlife species on the chopping block, while others attack core provisions of the Endangered Species Act itself.  This week, the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to finish consideration of the H.R. 2822, the FY 2016 Interior, Environment and Related Agencies appropriations bill which includes three species-specific policy riders that would undermine the Endangered Species Act.  More information on these riders here. Many more anti-ESA amendments are anticipated to be offered as the bill is considered on the floor of the House.

Other bills or amendments that have been proposed in this Congress attack the most important provisions of the Endangered Species Act itself.  One particularly outrageous bill proposed by Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), S. 855, encompasses a sweeping array of destructive and damaging amendments to the Endangered Species Act. For example, the bill would allow state governors to take over regulation of any endangered species whose range is limited within the boundaries of just one state, banning federal protection for those species. More than half of all listed U.S. species, including all listed species in Hawaii, would fall under this sweeping exception and could lose federal protection if this bill became law.


Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With more than 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 and follow us on Twitter @DefendersNews.

Earthjustice uses the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people’s health; to preserve magnificent places and wildlife; to advance clean energy; and to combat climate change.  For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter @Earthjustice.


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 and follow us on Twitter @Defenders.


Ptarmigan changing colors in NPR-A
Anchorage, AK

Conservation Groups Sue to Stop the Willow Oil Project in Alaska’s Western Arctic

Defenders of Wildlife and other conservation groups, represented by Earthjustice filed a lawsuit late last night to stop the massive Willow oil-drilling project in Alaska’s Western Arctic, which the Biden administration approved on March 13. This enormous new carbon source undermines President Biden’s promises to slash greenhouse-gas emissions in half by 2030 and transition the United States to clean energy.
Washington, D.C.

Biden Administration Withdraws from Izembek National Wildlife Refuge Land Swap

Today, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland revoked a land swap triggered by the Trump administration that would have paved the way for a road through Alaska’s Izembek National Wildlife Refuge. The Department of the Interior will initiate a new environmental analysis to determine if a land exchange and potential gravel road comply with federal laws and regulations.