The Endangered Species Act: Under attack? listen09/30/11 Olivia Kabat
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For many years the Endangered Species act has saved hundreds of species from becoming extinct. Now 13 different legislative proposals are pending in Congress that could put the Endangered Species Act at risk.
For nearly 40 years the Endangered Species Act has worked to protect endangered species. The act protects 107 endangered species in Florida alone. But some members of Congress are attempting to weaken the Endangered Species Act. Robert Dewey, vice president for government relations for the Defenders of Wildlife Organization says Congress is abandoning the Endangered Species Act in favor of big businesses.
â€œThe Endangered Species Act is the nationâ€™s landmark wildlife conservation law. Despite the overwhelming success of the Endangered Species Act, it is today under attack by many in Congress. There are by our calculations, over a dozen pending proposals in Congress that would undermine the statute. In some cases it looks like the attacks are pretty closely tied to some powerful corporate interests that would stand to gain if some of these damaging proposals are enacted.â€
Defenders of Wildlife says Congress shouldnâ€™t desert Americaâ€™s imperiled species. The organization recently released a report titled â€œAssault on Wildlifeâ€ to inform the public about these issues.
â€œItâ€™s really our hope that this report will serve to educate the public to understand that the Endangered Species Act in itâ€™s 40 year history has almost never been more under siege. We hope that the public will demonstrate their support for the Endangered Species Act to their members of Congress. Only by citizens speaking out can we really hope to hold the line on these damaging proposals that would do such harm to particular endangered species and the very statute that protects these species itself.â€
According to Dewey, the attacks made by Congress include passing an Extinction Rider, or discontinuing protection for certain species, blocking protection for new endangered species and eliminating advice from expert scientists regarding imperiled wildlife. But continued protection for endangered species in crucial.
â€œItâ€™s important to protect endangered species not only because of their own intrinsic value and the value to future generations of Americans, but also because of their economic benefits. Endangered species help many communities in terms of tourism and associated benefits. Also medicinal benefits, you never know which endangered species may hold the cure to some of the worst illnesses effecting us.â€
U.S. Representatives voted against the first Extinction Rider this past summer. Thereâ€™s another vote this October and the Endangered Species Act still faces many more obstacles.