27
March
2015
|
05:38 PM
America/New_York

Senate Budget Resolution Replete With Attacks on the Environment

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(March 27, 2015)

Contact: Haley McKey, (202)-772-0247, hmckey@defenders.org

 

WASHINGTON– The United States Senate has passed a budget resolution which included toxic anti-environmental amendments aimed at weakening some of our nation’s bedrock protections for our air, public lands, water and wildlife.

The following is a statement from Defenders of Wildlife President and CEO Jamie Rappaport Clark:

“Many in the Senate, particularly in the current majority party, do not seem interested in conserving our natural heritage anymore. Almost without fail, the environmental amendments added to the budget resolution gut or weaken protections for our air, public lands, water and imperiled wildlife. Sadly this is exactly what Big Oil, coal, mining and timber companies want. And in the end, the Senate was all too happy to comply, making this budget proposal nothing more than a collection of   giveaways to dirty energy companies and other polluting special interests. The American public deserves a Congress that will uphold our nation’s conservation values, not undermine them.”

The following amendments to the Senate budget resolution directly harm our wildlife and public lands:

  • Amendment 422 which would block, perhaps permanently, a final U.S. Fish and Wildlife (FWS) decision due April 2, 2015 about whether to list the northern long-eared bat under the ESA, in deference to vague and undefined “State conservation plans.” There is no requirement that the State conservation plans adequately or actually protect the bat.  The northern long-eared bat has declined by 99 percent and it should be given full protection as an endangered species.

  • Amendment 659, which would require the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to perform an unnecessary, costly and time-consuming examination of the “cumulative” economic effects of a critical habitat designation – an approach Congress rejected decades ago as dangerous to the protection of imperiled species. The FWS already analyzes and solicits public comment on the incremental costs and benefits of designating critical habitat.

  • Amendment 838, which would authorize the sale, transfer or exchange of federal lands to state and local governments, which in turn could sell them off to private interests for oil and gas drilling and other development. This amendment endangers our nation’s most treasured places, such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. This devastating amendment could result in the loss of recreational access to all Americans and the destruction of some of our most iconic conservation lands and wildlife habitat.

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Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With more than 1.1 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.