Many Americans have bones to pick with our members of Congress over a variety of issues. But sometimes, some of them do get it right. This evening eight members of Congress were honored for their staunch defense of wildlife and of the Endangered Species Act.
The “Champions of the Endangered Species Act” reception in Washington, D.C. features former Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt and honors Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Tom Udall (D-NM), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and House members Don Beyer (D-VA), Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), Betty McCollum (D-MN), and Niki Tsongas (D-MA).
The honorees were recognized by these leaders in their sectors of conservation:
- the Animal Welfare Institute
- Born Free USA
- the Center for Biological Diversity
- Defenders of Wildlife
- the Endangered Species Coalition
- Environmental Defense Fund
- the League of Conservation Voters
- the Native Plant Conservation Campaign
- the International Fund for Animal Welfare
- the Natural Resources Defense Council
- the Sierra Club
- the Union of Concerned Scientists
- WildEarth Guardians
- and Wildlands Network.
These groups jointly issued the following statement:
“We celebrate and honor these conservation leaders whose vision and leadership has created a legacy of immeasurable benefit to our environment, to our nation’s most imperiled wildlife, and to our communities. Their tireless support for wildlife is vital as powerful special interests continue efforts to weaken or eliminate the Endangered Species Act and other bedrock conservation laws grounded in science.”
The Endangered Species Act is more at risk today than ever before. Several members of Congress continue to push legislative agendas designed to undermine the Act, threatening public lands and iconic wildlife. Collectively, the legislative attacks on the Endangered Species Act introduced by this Congress represent the most sweeping attacks since the landmark conservation law was passed 43 years ago.
There is strong public support for the Endangered Species Act, yet the attacks persist. A July 2015 poll found that 90 percent of U.S. voters support the Endangered Species Act, affirming similar findings from previous polls over the last decade.
Hats off to these courageous Congress men and women. Let’s hope that more of your colleagues see the importance of taking this particular stand and embrace it with you.