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Terrible Interior Budget Bill Filled with Extinction Riders Advances in House

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


Terrible Interior Budget Bill Filled with Extinction Riders Advances in House


WASHINGTON (July 13, 2016) ­– Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed its  Fiscal Year 2017 Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations Act laden with dozens of riders that undermine fundamental protections for our air, land, water and wildlife. A number of new anti-wildlife and anti-lands riders were added on the House floor.

Statement from Defenders of Wildlife President and CEO, Jamie Rappaport Clark:

“It is abundantly clear that the House of Representatives has stopped treating the Interior appropriations bill as a serious legislative funding measure, and has chosen instead to use it as a Trojan horse to ferry controversial, anti-wildlife riders through Congress. A number of new riders block protections for some of our nation’s most imperiled species and undermine sound management of national wildlife refuges that have been established as havens for many of America’s most treasured species.  Instead of dismantling safeguards for wildlife and public lands, the House of Representatives should be voting for a clean budget that provides adequate funding to manage our nation’s precious natural heritage. 

“These riders aren’t just an assault on wildlife conservation in our country: they’re poison pills. Their inclusion in any final funding bill also greatly increases the chances of a government shutdown. The administration already issued a Statement of Administration Policy warning that if President Obama were presented with this bill, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto it. Ideological attacks on bedrock environmental laws have absolutely no place in this critically important legislation.”


When it passed out of committee, the House Interior appropriations bill already included funding cuts and more than 30 harmful riders that would weaken safeguards for our air, land, water and wildlife.

Several new riders added during floor consideration of the bill take direct aim at the protections afforded to wildlife through the Endangered Species Act (ESA). One would delist all gray wolves in the continental United States by 2017. Another rider blocks federal funding to recover critically endangered Mexican gray wolves and keeps them out of the habitats they need to recover;  a guaranteed  recipe for extinction. The Mexican gray wolf is one of the most endangered mammals in North America.  Equallynefarious, another rider makes it harder for American citizens to challenge violations of the Endangered Species Act in court.

Another destructive set of riders attack our National Wildlife Refuge System. One would block federal conservation measures for wolves, bears and other carnivores on national wildlife refuges and preserves in Alaska, opening approximately 100 million acres of public lands to scientifically indefensible practices to reduce these species’ population numbers. Another bars a vital new rule that would update inadequate 50-year old regulations to manage non-federal oil and gas drilling on refuge lands and waters. A third rider would prevent implementation of a management plan for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which recommends wilderness designation to permanently protect core areas of this crown jewel refuge.


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