08:46 PM

Congressman Grijalva Leads 91 Members of Congress in Telling Administration to “Veto Extinction”


September 28, 2015

Contact: Melanie Gade: mgade@defenders.org (202) 772-0288

Congressman Grijalva Leads 91 Members of Congress in Telling Administration to “Veto Extinction”

WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Grijalva (D- AZ) and ninety-one other members of Congress submitted a letter to the Obama administration urging it to steadfastly reject all riders that undermine the Endangered Species Act, including those weakening or blocking protections for specific imperiled species as it negotiates final FY 2016 spending legislation with Congress this fall.

As one of our nation’s most important bedrock environmental laws, the Endangered Species Act has been nearly 99 percent effective in its intended purpose of preventing the extinction of imperiled plants and wildlife placed under its protection. Yet, members of this Congress have already proposed more than 80 bills, amendments and policy “riders” that would dramatically weaken the act. More than a dozen of these proposals are hidden in must-pass funding legislation for the Department of Defense, Department of the Interior and other federal agencies. Together, these proposed measures would block or remove protections for America’s most imperiled wildlife, including gray wolves and the lesser prairie chicken, and undermine the strength and effectiveness of the act.

Jamie Rappaport Clark, President and CEO of Defenders of Wildlife, issued the following statement:

“I am grateful to Congressman Grijalva and the 90 other House members who today have taken a stand against a Congress seemingly bent on undermining protections for our air, lands, water and wildlife. Congress was elected to serve the interests of the American public, not polluters and special economic interests who put profits ahead of our natural heritage at every turn, and wrongly blame federal environmental protections for interfering with their bottom line.

“Congress’ back door attempt to undermine the Endangered Species Act and other bedrock environmental laws through the appropriations process is disgraceful and contrary to the views of the vast majority of Americans.  The proponents of these attacks are trying to drive the extinction of America’s treasured wildlife one species at a time.  I echo Congressman Grijalva’s plea to the Obama administration to reject any appropriations bill that includes amendments that would weaken our ability to protect our natural heritage and wildlife for future generations.”


  •  A national poll released in June of 2015 found that 90 percent of American voters support the Endangered Species Act. Further, 68 percent said they are more likely to vote for a member of Congress who supports environmental safeguards like the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act.
  • List of more than  80 bills, amendments and policy “riders” introduced since January that undermine the ESA:
  • List of anti-Endangered Species Act measures added as riders to the FY16 House and Senate bills funding the Department of the Interior and other federal agencies.
  • Link to the full letter.


Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With more than 1.2 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit www.defenders.org and follow us on Twitter @defendersnews.