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ENDANGERED SPECIES, WILDLIFE

The strongest federal safeguard against the extinction of species in the United States is the Endangered Species Act. Since 1973 the act has helped save some of America's most critically imperiled birds and wildlife, including the Bald Eagle, the Peregrine Falcon, the gray wolf, the grizzly bear, and the Whooping Crane. -www.audubon.org

(Scroll down to take immediate action)

UPDATE 10/4: Trump Administration denies endangered species protection to 25 species. (Center for Biological Diversity) 6/22: US officials to lift grizzly bear protections. (LA Times) 5/9: Trump administration reviewing Obama national monument designations to delist for possible deforestation/lumber harvesting, drilling, and mining (National Geographic summary). 3/21: S.J. Res. 18/H.J. Res. 69 passed the Senate, split along party lines, 52-47, with the GOP universally revoking protection for wildlife on Alaskan national wildlife refuges. Wildlife are once again subject to extremely cruel hunting methods, including snaring, steel jaw trapping, shooting/gassing of wolves and other mammals while they're in their dens with young, and targeting from the air. Here is snopes' take on it.

One more wildlife bill remains to be voted on in the House: HR 717. HR 717 disallows listing a species as endangered if there's a "likelihood of significant economic effects" for so doing. HR 424, which removes wolves from list of endangered species and allows their killing, and also removes their designated habitat, is in committee for consideration before advancing to House/Senate. Contact your representative now and tell them to block the rescinding of these protections on our wildlife! Five of six legislators introducing these bills are from TEXAS. (see Take Action, below, for how, and for names of legislators co-sponsoring each bill--contact them--we will remember them in 2018 and 2020!)

LEARN: Congress, in 1973, passed tough limits on killing endangered species by passing the Endangered Species Act. The Act has saved several species, including the peregrine falcon, which the pesticide DDT nearly extinguished. Their numbers went from over 8,000 birds to only 7 pairs left in the Rockies in 1975. The moving success story, Wings for my Flight, by Marcy Houle, tells the story of the brave effort and heart it took to save one of the pairs at Chimney Rock, CO. Over 6,000 peregrine falcons have been released back into the wild as a direct result of the ESA. They were removed from the list of endangered species in 1999!

However, Secretaries of the Interior and Commerce can either apply or rescind the ESA prohibitions to any threatened species they choose! Both of Trump's Secretaries are likely to rescind current protections to benefit industry, and GOP lawmakers already plan to target the Endangered Species Act as a whole, and have already begun. After all, why let all those dumb animals who have no money interfere with drilling, logging, and other activities? Here is what one large organization is doing about this, and why, and Newsweek's 1/12/17 article on How Endangered Species Might Fare Under Trump.

For example, HJ Res 69, passed in March, 2017, was touted as a way to rescind regulations which are taking jobs. Alaskan GOP Senators Sullivan and Murkowski introduced this bill to repeal protections for Alaskan wildlife in wildlife refuges. No jobs will be saved by the passage of this inhumane and brutal act. Is a wildlife refuge not a refuge for wildlife? It's intent is to provide hunters with more recreational opportunities by killing the predators of moose, whose numbers are held in check by bears, coyotes, and wolves. HJ Res 69 appears to support hunting moose at quite a high cost to other mammals. The two Alaskan Senators also voted yes on the "tax" bill, which removes protections from drilling in the Arctic Refuge. We will remember Murkowski in 2022 and Sullivan in 2020 when they must run for re-election!

TAKE ACTION

(1) The gutting of the Endangered Species Act has begun. (Note that 5 of 6 bill introducers are from TX). HJ Res 69 (allows killing on National Wildlife Refuges in AK) was voted in in the House 2/18, sponsored by Rep. Don Young (R-AK), cosponsored by Reps. Brian Babin (R-TX), Michael Burgess (R-TX), & Louie Gohmert (R-TX), and voted in by the Senate 3/21, championed there by Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK, re-election in 2022) and Dan Sullivan (R-AK, re-election in 2020). GOP who voted for the Senate bill: all of them. DEMs who voted against the Senate bill: all of them. Consider thanking them. GOP who voted against the House bill: McSally (AZ 2nd), Upton (MI 6th), LoBiondo (NJ 2nd), MacArthur (NJ 3rd), C. Smith (NJ 4th), King (NY 2nd), Reichert (WA 8th). Consider thanking them. DEMs who voted for the House bill (?): Gonzalez (@larrygonzales52, TX 15th), Vela (@RepFilemonVela, TX 34th), Kind (@RepRonKind, WI 3rd). Dems Sanford (@SanfordBishop D GA 2nd) and Rush (@RepBobbyRush, IL 1st) and Richmond (@RepRichmond, LA 2nd) did not vote. Is your district represented? Let your Rep know what you think (see #12 for how) and consider how this impacts your willingness to support them in 2018!

(2) Let your House representative know (see #11, below) you want them to OPPOSE HR 717 (don't allow economic effects to delist a species), sponsored by Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX-22); and OPPOSE HR 424 (protect gray wolves), sponsored by Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN-7).

(3) Get action alerts from the Center for Biological Diversity and Endangered.org.

(4) Here are 10 things you can do to support wildlife, from Defenders of Wildlife.

(5) Endangered Species Day is May 19th. Here are teachers’ and students’ resources prepared by the Endangered Species Coalition: A great way to get your community involved!

(6) Love birds? Here's a current list of the Top 10 Endangered Birds. Support Audubon’s efforts to save them.

(7) Sign a petition against Senator Rand Paul’s “pro-extinction” Endangered Species Act bill.

(8) UpholdTheseRights is a US-focused site. Fortunately, the World Wildlife Fund is targeting the US, too: WWF Action Center

(9) Bees are responsible for one in every three bites of food through pollination, and their recent decline is alarming. Here are five things (from CNN) you can do to help save them.

(10) Some of these 20 things you can do at home to stop extinction (from Conserve Energy Future) require more energy, and others just take a minute.

(11) Join Project Coyote, started by Camilla Fox out of love for these misunderstood Song Dogs (over 500K are killed in the US each year). Get action alerts, science-based information on how to co-exist with coyotes, and sign up for their newsletter. Excellent and fascinating information on bears, bobcats, foxes, mountain lions, and wolves, as well.

(12) Need to contact your representatives to express an opinion, preference, make a request or a demand? Remember, you have two House representatives and two Senators. Who are your representatives? DC House of Representatives switchboard: 866-948-8977 and Senate 866-985-2543 (in addition to your local and state Congressional reps, call the DC number when Congress is in session and/or when you feel very, very strongly and alarmed about an issue or imminent legislation). The Indivisible Guide notes that phoning is more effective than email, tweets, letters (it's a great resource for joining or starting an action group if you want to work with others). If you can't get through, send letters through the mail and flood their offices! Don't know your Senators’ phone number? Call 202/224-3121, put in your zip. You’ll be transferred. Shy to call? Don’t be concerned. You’ll likely be sent to voicemail. If you do reach someone, speak concisely and politely, telling them:

...you live in their district (for Representatives) or state (for Senators),
...you’re concerned about the gutting of the Endangered Species Act,
...and you want them to:
-push for legislation to uphold and protect endangered species, and
obstruct the GOP’s efforts to pass
HR 424 and HR 717!

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