FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Rick Kessler
Reps. Dingell & Dicks, TV Celebrity Corwin,
Enviro Leaders, Hail Endangered Species Act
Act's Author, Noted Conservationist & Key Players Launch
Campaign to Preserve the ESA
Washington, DC - Endangered Species Act author Rep. John D. Dingell (D-MI)
together with Rep. Norm Dicks (D-WA), Animal Planet star Jeff Corwin, former
Nixon/Ford/Carter Council on Environmental Quality Scientific Advisor Lee
Talbot and the leaders of national environmental groups gathered to celebrate
the 30th Anniversary of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and pledged to fight
to preserve the Act's integrity against rollbacks for another 30 years.
"Without this law, there might not be a single bald eagle or peregrine falcon in
our skies. No manatees or cut-throat trout in our waters, and no gray wolves or
grizzly bears in our forests. This monumental legislation has, quite literally,
saved our natural heritage while allowing the US economy to grow at record
rates," Congressman Dingell declared.
Congressman Dicks, the senior Democrat on the Interior Appropriations
Subcommittee, said, "From this vantage point, thirty years after its passage, the
achievements and the limitations of the ESA are clearly visible. What is also
abundantly clear to those of us who were here when the Act was first passed is
how far-sighted the original legislation was and how much better off we are
today with its protections in place."
Jeff Corwin, host of Animal Planet's "The Jeff Corwin Experience" said: "The
Endangered Species Act is one of the most important legislative acts in the
history of our nation with regard to the conservation of natural resources, habitat
and endangered species. Since its passage, the ESA has had a profoundly
positive impact on a multitude of endangered species, pulling back many
animals from the edge of extinction. I'm so proud to be a part of the 30th
Brock Evans, the Executive Director of the Endangered Species Coalition said:
"The Endangered Species Act has been much more than just a magnificent law
to protect America's most imperiled natural heritage. It is a profoundly moral
statement, uniquely American in its vision, its optimism, and its promise."
Gene Karpinski, the Executive Director of US PIRG stated: "Thanks to the
Endangered Species Act, more than 1,800 species find safe haven, and many
are on the road to recovery. Unfortunately, many other species are beginning a
downward spiral that can only be reversed with continued protections. It is time
to make a renewed commitment to conserve those species for future
Added Dr. Rodger Schlickeisen, President of the Defenders of Wildlife: "The
Endangered Species Act was a truly visionary response to the potentially
catastrophic problem of species extinction and habitat loss."
John Kostyack, National Wildlife Federation's Wildlife Conservation Program
Senior Counsel said: "We should celebrate the ESA as one of the most moral
laws ever passed, because it calls upon all of us to think about our future
generations and what we owe them."
Earthjustice Senior Legislative Representative Susan Holmes added, "Not only
is the ESA one of the nation's most visionary laws, but also one of its most
Signed into law on December 28, 1973 by President Richard Nixon, the
Endangered Species Act has served as a model for species and habitat
protection throughout the world. Rep. Dingell sponsored the legislation in the
House where it passed by an overwhelming vote of 391-12. The late Senator
Harrison "Pete" Williams (D-NJ) sponsored the Senate version of the ESA,
which passed without opposition, 92-0. In the 30 years since the Endangered
Species Act's enactment, more than two dozen species have been saved from
the brink of extinction, including such national symbols as the Bald Eagle and the
The Endangered Species Act has served as a model throughout the world for
conservation and species preservation. The law also forbids the importation of
endangered species from abroad. This has served as the basis for recovery of
such animals as the African elephant, the rhinoceros, the Bengal tiger, and the
humpback whale. Recently, the Bush Administration announced that it would
revisit this prohibition. This comes on the heels of enactment of H.R. 1588, the
Defense Authorization Act, which included language -championed by the Bush
Administration-- rolling back protection standards for endangered species on
Department of Defense-managed lands.
The legislators who were present signed a pledge to uphold the Endangered
Species Act so it can continue to protect animals and plants that are threatened
with extinction and habitat loss.
The event was highlighted by 5th grade students from Washington DC's Hyde
Elementary who sang "The Star Spangled Banner" as Challenger, a trained
American Bald Eagle, soared above.
Office of Congressman John D. Dingell
2328 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515