Only One Local House Member Voted for the Endangered Species Extinction Act
Needless to say in this era of right-wing dominance, the new ESA would be a disaster for endangered species.
Here’s what the bill does, according to Defenders of Wildlife:
-- replaces the current mandatory critical habitat system with a system of purported recovery plans that are discretionary and fail to protect habitat essential for recovery;
-- allows federal agencies to avoid consultation, resulting in agencies with little to no experience in wildlife issues deciding if projects will harm wildlife;
-- exempts all pesticide decisions from ESA compliance, taking away the ability under the ESA to stop pesticide use even when necessary to prevent extinction;
-- requires the federal government to use taxpayer dollars to pay developers for complying with the law, setting no limits on these payments.
It also removes protections from threatened species, which under the current law are treated the same as endangered species.
In this post, from January, I counted up the listed species in the Sound’s watershed. Endangered: roseate tern, leatherback sea turtle, Atlantic ridley sea turtle, shortnose sturgeon, dwarf wedge mussel, and sandplain gerardia. Threatened: bald eagle, piping plover, loggerhead sea turtle, Atlantic green sea turtle, bog turtle, Puritan tiger beetle, and small whorled pogonia and seabeach amaranth.
All of these plants and animals will still be protected by New York’s and Connecticut’s endangered species laws, but of course those protections would not extend beyond the borders of the states.
It being a Republican bill, you’d expect the region’s Democrats to vote against it, and all did. The other three Republicans from the Sound region voted it against it too – Christopher Shays, Nancy Johnson, and Rob Simmons, all of Connecticut.
The Endangered Species Extinction Act still has to pass the Senate, and I haven’t heard or read much about its prospects there.