July 6, 2018

Barrasso Proposal Would Critically Undermine Endangered Species Protection

Statement by Michael Halpern, Union of Concerned Scientists

WASHINGTON (July 6, 2018)—A legislative proposal introduced by Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) would fundamentally weaken the Endangered Species Act, downplaying the role of science and making it much harder to defend threatened species, 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. 

“The Endangered Species Act is saving countless iconic American species from the threat of extinction because it is grounded in science. Senator Barrasso’s proposal puts these protections at risk by sabotaging the scientific foundation of the Endangered Species Act and putting onerous bureaucratic hurdles in the way of efforts to protect imperiled plants and animals.

“There’s not even an attempt to justify these changes on scientific grounds. This is purely a political maneuver that would make the law far less effective and could give state politicians a virtual veto over science-based conservation efforts.  

“No one should have any illusions about what this proposal does: it rips the heart out of the Endangered Species Act and will put American ecosystems at risk. The Senate should listen to the nearly 1,500 scientists who signed onto a letter asking Congress to protect the Endangered Species Act, and reject this bill.” 

The Union of Concerned Scientists puts rigorous, independent science to work to solve our planet's most pressing problems. Joining with people across the country, we combine technical analysis and effective advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future.