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Audubon denounces "Extinction Bill"

Politicians roll back thirty years of conservation success

On 29 September, the US House of Representatives demonstrated its determination to roll back thirty years of conservation success when it voted to pass legislation that undermines the protection of habitat critical to threatened wildlife, say the National Audubon Society (BirdLife in the US). HR 3824, more aptly called the "Extinction Bill", will also deliver a host of benefits for wealthy landowners and developers at US taxpayers' expense.

Since its passage in 1973, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) has successfully protected many endangered species, including the Bald Eagle Haliaeetus leucocephalus and Whooping Crane Grus americana. Only 9 out of the 1,800 species listed as threatened or endangered have gone extinct since the act has been in existence. The "Extinction Bill" puts many more species at risk of being lost forever, abandoned to commercial development and special interests. For 30 years the federal government successfully provided a safety net for them; this legislation tears that up.

"Through no fault of their own, America’s birds and wildlife face an uncertain future. Congressman Pombo's 'Extinction Bill' abandons responsible protection of threatened wildlife in favor of concessions to the wealthy and well-connected. We will take the fight to save the ESA to the US Senate, where more thoughtful, responsible deliberation may prevail." said Betsy Loyless, Vice President for Policy, AudubonThis wrong-headed bill, introduced by California Congressman Richard Pombo, will simply put all of America’s endangered species in harm’s way, say Audubon:

* Habitat critical for the recovery and survival of threatened species will no longer be protected, ignoring the most essential element of any plan to protect them

* The bill would exempt all pesticide decisions from compliance with the ESA for at least five years, ignoring the fact that pesticides have been a significant factor in the historic decline of species, including the Bald Eagle, and pose a current problem for many other species

* The bill prohibits the Fish and Wildlife Service from using any scientific information about a threatened species that is learned after a conservation plan is completed. This is like prohibiting a doctor from using any medical information that is learned after the patient is admitted to the hospital

Audubon is celebrating its centennial year of protecting birds and other wildlife, and the habitat that supports them. Its national network of community-based nature centers and chapters, scientific and educational programs, and advocacy on behalf of areas sustaining important bird populations, engage millions of people of all ages and backgrounds in positive conservation experiences.

4th July 2014