[Date Prev][Date Next][Date Index]
E-M:/ SIGN-ON LETTER--To the Senate to Stop Kempthorne's ESA Bill (fwd)
- Subject: E-M:/ SIGN-ON LETTER--To the Senate to Stop Kempthorne's ESA Bill (fwd)
- From: "Karin I. Mueller" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Sun, 28 Sep 1997 15:09:48 -0400 (EDT)
- List-Name: Enviro-Mich
- Reply-To: "Karin I. Mueller" <email@example.com>
Enviro-Mich message from "Karin I. Mueller" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sat, 27 Sep 1997 00:49:18 -0400 (EDT)
From: Genevieve Annaliese Skora <email@example.com>
Subject: SIGN-ON LETTER--To the Senate to Stop Kempthorne's ESA Bill (fwd)
ACTION ALERT -- PLEASE ACT NOW
SIGN-ON LETTER - Ask the Senate to oppose Senator Kempthorne's
Endangered Species Destruction Act
Kempthorne's new bill to gut the Endangered Species Act is on a fast
track. Senators Chafee (R-RI), Baucus (D-MT), and Reid (D-NV) sponsor
the bill. Interior Secretary Babbitt also supports it. We might as
well consider that the Clinton Administration is on board as well. The
bill, S. 1180, has had only one hearing and will go to full Committee
mark-up next week (probably September 30). We do not have much time to
derail this bill.
It is imperative that groups concerned about endangered species
protection and recovery send a unified and strong message to the Senate
that we DO NOT SUPPORT this bill.
Please sign your group on to this letter. Please circulate this alert
far and wide.
WHAT TO DO
Send your groups' name, address, and a contact person to
The deadline for this letter is the Close of Business Monday, September
29, 1997. (We will deliver the letter to the entire Senate on Tuesday,
Please distribute this alert to as many groups and individuals as you
If you do not belong to a group or cannot get permission for your group
to sign this letter by the deadline, us this letter as a model to send
to your Senator. (You can also do this even if your group has signed
DRAFT SIGN-ON LETTER
September 30, 1997
We, the undersigned, representing grassroots conservation organizations
from across the country, urge you to oppose the Endangered Species Act
reauthorization bill, S. 1180, introduced by Senator Dirk Kempthorne
(R-ID). The bill creates a number of impediments to species recovery
and hidden costs for taxpayers. It adds layers of bureaucracy and
closed-door meetings to the process of listing and recovering
endangered species, making it a slow train on a "fast-track" to
S. 1180 abandons the primary mission of endangered species legislation
-- the recovery and de-listing of threatened and endangered species.
Our problems with the bill are many. A partial list of our concerns
It bypasses recovery planning by not requiring science based
recovery teams, public notice and comment and recovery goals.
It provides no guarantee of adequate funding for federal agencies
to fulfill their mandate.
It subsidizes habitat destruction, forcing taxpayers to pick up
the costs that extractive industry will not bear for mitigation
It provides special access for special interests, providing
parties with economic interests in projects with closed-door
consultation. The public is shut out.
Conservation groups were shut out of the process. In spite of
what you may have heard, no conservation group -- national,
regional or local -- supports this bill.
The responsibility for protecting our rich natural heritage should be
borne equitably. The process by which recovery is achieved should be
accessible and open to all interested parties. S. 1180 is neither
equitable nor accessible and we therefore urge you to oppose the bill.
We appreciate your consideration of our views.
[Your group and hundreds more!]
BACKGROUND (S 1180 fact sheet from the National Wildlife Federation)
S. 1180, Senator Kempthorne ESA Bill, Weakens Protections for
Endangered Species -- Oppose it Until Key Changes Are Made!
Senators Dirk Kempthorne (R-ID), John Chafee (R-RI), Max Baucus (D-MT),
and Harry Reid (D-NV) recently introduced S. 1180, a bill to
reauthorize the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Although it is being
portrayed as a moderate "compromise" solution to the endangered species
debate, it undermines some of the ESA's essential provisions for
protecting and recovering our nation's endangered wildlife.
The National Wildlife Federation has pushed for needed improvements to
the ESA-- changes that would make the law work better for people as
well as wildlife. Unfortunately, S. 1180 not only fails to include
many of these needed improvements to the ESA, it weakens existing
protections that are essential to the survival of species. In
particular, S. 1180:
Reduces Species Protections on Federal Lands by Weakening Agency
S. 1180 makes it harder for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and
National Marine Fisheries Service (the Services) to serve as watchdogs
over other federal agencies whose activities often contribute to
species decline. For instance, this bill allows industries operating
on federal lands to get a full exemption from any further ESA
responsibilities if they agree to undertake certain activities believed
to promote recovery -- even if those activities ultimately harm
species. It also allows resource extraction activities on federal
lands, such as timber sales, to move forward before adequate
consideration has been given to how these projects will impact newly
listed species. And, significantly, the bill allows industry
representatives unprecedented access to key ESA decision-making -- such
as how to minimize the impact that grazing on federal lands will have
on Lower Colorado River fish -- yet continues to exclude the general
public from these processes.
Precludes Management Changes Needed to Prevent Extinctions on
S. 1180 lets private and other nonfederal landowners "lock-in" long-
term land management plans (Habitat Conservation Plans, or HCPs) that
exempt them from further conservation obligations for up to 100 years
or more. Such *No Surprises* assurances to landowners would make sense
if proper safeguards were also provided for species. Leading
scientists have stated that at least two safeguards -- the flexibility
to revisit HCPs, and a funding mechanism to carry out necessary changes
-- are prerequisites for a scientifically-credible HCP policy.
Unfortunately, they are missing from the Kempthorne bill, and thus HCPs
would remain in force even if they are contributing to the decline and
possible extinction of species.
Inserts Hurdles in the Listing and Recovery Planning Programs That
Would Frustrate ESA Implementation
Although the agencies responsible for endangered species protection are
already struggling with a vast backlog of species that await listing
and recovery plans, this bill adds significant new bureaucratic burdens
to the listing and recovery planning processes that will drain limited
resources away from on-the-ground conservation. For example, the
Services and volunteer recovery teams are charged with engaging in
speculative economic analyses and other burdensome studies of every
possible recovery strategy they consider. As the Services attempt to
work their way through this maze of procedural hurdles and inevitable
litigation that will result, species like the imperiled Florida black
bear, which has been awaiting listing and recovery actions for nearly a
decade, will continue to decline.
Allows Activities That Undermine Recovery
The ESA has been largely successful at preventing species from going
extinct, but it has been far less successful at actually recovering
species to the point that they can be taken off the endangered species
list. Although the Kempthorne bill purports to address this problem,
it fails to address a central flaw with current ESA implementation --
the fact that federal agencies routinely approve projects that result
in significant habitat destruction and undermine the ESA's recovery
goal. To fulfill its promise that species recovery needs will finally
be addressed, the Kempthorne bill needs to be amended to ensure that
agencies approve only those projects designed in a manner that does not
undermine species recovery.
Recent polls show that 84% of the American public supports retaining or
strengthening endangered species protections. As currently written, S.
1180 ignores the sentiments of everyday Americans and erodes protection
for our invaluable imperiled wildlife. Please contact your Senators
and the White House immediately and urge them to oppose S. 1180 as an
unacceptable step backwards in our national commitment to protect our
Roger Featherstone -- Director
GrassRoots Environmental Effectiveness Network
A project of Defenders of Wildlife
PO Box 40046, Albuquerque, NM 87196-0046
(505) 277-8302 fax:(505) 277-5483 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
check out our web page at: http://www.defenders.org/grnhome.html
(All other GREEN staff remain at our Washington, DC, office)
ENVIRO-MICH: Internet List and Forum for Michigan Environmental
and Conservation Issues and Michigan-based Citizen Action. Archives at
Postings to: email@example.com For info, send email to
firstname.lastname@example.org with a one-line message body of "info enviro-mich"