House Bills Target Scientific Foundations of Endangered Species Conservation

Statement by Michael Halpern, Union of Concerned Scientists

Published Jul 13, 2018

WASHINGTON (July 13, 2018)—Members of the U.S. House have introduced a package of proposed bills that would radically alter the federal government’s process for protecting endangered species. These bills would undermine the scientific basis of the Endangered Species Act and pose a risk to vulnerable ecosystems, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

Below is a statement by Michael Halpern, deputy director of the Center for Science and Democracy at UCS.

“It’s clear that the Endangered Species Act has become a political target. These bills would upend one of the most effective environmental laws on the books by eviscerating the role of science in making decisions about which species to protect and how.

“The Endangered Species Act already requires the federal government to work closely with state, local and tribal governments to protect species and habitats at risk—and the law has successfully protected 99 percent of listed species from extinction. These bills would replace the science that should be used to make these decisions with political considerations. They would make listing species harder and delisting species easier, and throw new bureaucratic hurdles in the path of scientists protecting plants and animals at risk. These bills should go down in defeat.”