Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Riders on the Storm

Lightning on the Columbia - Astoria, Oregon - by Ian Boggs

The Interior and Environment Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2012, H.R. 2584, currently moving through the House of Representatives includes an "Extinction Rider" with language that, if signed into law, will paralyze our nation’s ability to protect hundreds of imperiled wildlife and plant species under the Endangered Species Act.

Congressman Mike Thompson (CA-1) and Congressman Norm Dicks (WA-6) have introduced an important amendment to the Interior Appropriations bill that would strike the "Extinction Rider" from the final bill.

Please send a message to your representative in support of the Dicks-Thompson Amendment.

As it stands, the current bill would prevent the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) from protecting any new or additional endangered species, designate or update critical habitat for any currently-listed species, or upgrade the status of a species from threatened to endangered. Unless a species is already listed, it would receive no protection under the ESA. And for listed species, prohibiting USFWS from designating critical habitat would eliminate the most effective means of endangered species protection under the ESA, inevitably leading to the non-recovery, and possible extinction, of plants and animals across the country.

When it comes to wild salmon, protecting the Endangered Species Act is about more than saving critters; it's about jobs and livelihoods in our communities and about what we truly value. Thousands of businesses and tens of thousands of jobs are supported by salmon and steelhead.  Laws and policies like the ESA help communities prosper by protecting our land, water, air, and wildlife.

That's why it's encouraging to see leaders such as Congressman Dicks and Congressman Thompson taking a stand to protect the Endangered Species Act, wild salmon and steelhead, and the communities and jobs that rely on them. 


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