Thursday, February 06, 2014

House Republicans Seek to Ruthlessly Gut the Endangered Species Act

House Republicans are taking aim at the Endangered Species Act. The effort, spearheaded by Wyoming Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis and Washington State’s Doc Hastings, both Republicans, is designed to weaken the Act which was signed into law forty years ago by President Richard Nixon. Republican critics of the Endangered Species Act argue that it hampers development and imposes undue burdens on landowners as well as on corporations that engage in logging, mining, and drilling. They also contend that the Endangered Species Act is a failure because not many species have been taken off the list.

However, The Endangered Species Act passed in 1973 and other environmental policies enacted in conjunction with it have been successful in providing for the remarkable recovery of several species of wildlife. Take for example our national bird, the iconic bald eagle. Once near the brink of extinction, this majestic bird has made a dramatic recovery. In 1973, the lower 48 states had fewer than 800 nesting pairs of bald eagles. Now there are over 11,000 breeding pairs, with nests in every one of the lower 48 states.

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