The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Stephanie Kurose, Center for Biological Diversity, (202) 849-8395,
Gwen Dobbs, Defenders of Wildlife, (202) 772-0269,

Congress Urged to Fully Fund Endangered Species Act With $486 Million

Many imperiled species currently get no funding for recovery


More than 215 groups today urged the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee to increase the budget for endangered species conservation from about $252 million to $486 million.

The groups submitted a letter asking for the budgetary boost to the Endangered Species Act as part of the Interior and Environment subcommittee's public witness day.

Hundreds of endangered species receive less than $1,000 a year for their recovery, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Many species receive no funding at all from the agency.

"The Endangered Species Act has been starved for decades, and incredible animals and plants have been pushed toward extinction because of that," said Stephanie Kurose, an endangered species policy specialist at the Center for Biological Diversity. "Enough is enough. Congress should fully fund the Act so that not one more species is lost forever."

As today's letter notes, to truly put imperiled species on the path to recovery, the Fish and Wildlife Service requires a budget of $486 million across five programs starting in fiscal year 2020. Critically, this includes ensuring that every listed species receives a minimum of $50,000 per year for recovery.

"Congress declared the importance of conserving wildlife when it passed the Endangered Species Act in 1973 but has failed in recent decades to provide funding necessary to fulfill the vision," said Dr. Jacob Malcom, director of the Center for Conservation Innovation at Defenders of Wildlife. "We can and must do more to pull species back from the edge of extinction. This request is a blueprint for Congress to get endangered species conservation back on the right track, from listing species to private lands conservation."

Other groups joining today's letter include Earthjustice, NRDC and the Sierra Club.

The Endangered Species Act has successfully protected and worked to recover America's most imperiled species for more than 45 years, despite being chronically and severely underfunded.

The Endangered Species Act is a highly effective law, saving more than 99 percent of listed species and putting hundreds more on the road to recovery. It is also extraordinarily popular. According to peer reviewed research, nine out of 10 Americans support the Act and want it either strengthened or left unchanged by Congress.

At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature — to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters and climate that species need to survive.

(520) 623-5252