The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Corry Westbrook, (202) 841-6371
Leda Huta,, (202) 320-6467

'Chasing Presidents' Urges Candidates to Support Endangered Species Act

Candidate questionnaire asks presidential candidates to strengthen protections for imperiled wildlife.


On the eve of the 46th birthday of the Endangered Species Act, a wildlife conservation group is asking all presidential candidates to strengthen our legacy of protecting imperiled fish, plants and wildlife on the brink of extinction. Unveiled today by the Endangered Species Coalition and 13 of its member groups, Chasing Presidents is a new voter education project that asks each candidate for President of the United States to answer eight questions on imperiled wildlife and the Endangered Species Act. The questionnaire was sent to every candidate, regardless of party affiliation.

Citing the recent weakening of the Endangered Species Act by the Trump Administration and a global assessment foretelling the extinction of one million species, the questionnaire asks candidates if they will commit to reversing the Administration's damaging rules, and if they will support robust funding for protecting imperiled wildlife.

"The Endangered Species Act is our safety for fish, plants and wildlife on the brink of extinction," said Corry Westbrook, Senior Grassroots and Policy Advisor for the Endangered Species Coalition. "Our members and the voting public deserve to know where the candidates stand on protecting imperiled wildlife and the special places they call home."

The Trump Administration's rules weakening the Endangered Species Act were issued in August by Interior Secretary, David Bernhardt. The regulations were finalized despite the overwhelming opposition of American citizens--more than 866,000 submitted comments opposing the new regulations. A decade of polling has consistently shown that the American public strongly supports the Endangered Species Act--90 percent in the most recent poll. And in 2017, more than 420 conservation organizations signed a letter to Congress opposing any weakening of the Endangered Species Act. Additionally, Secretary Bernhardt has come under fire for ethical issues and for hiding his lobbying against protections for an endangered fish.

The Endangered Species Act has a 99% success rate. Species such as the bald eagle, American alligator, humpback whale, Santa Cruz island fox, Tennessee purple coneflower and many more have recovered thanks to the Act. Hundreds more species have seen an incredible resurgence including the grey wolf, Grizzly bear, black-footed ferret, and Whooping crane.

Candidates must return the questionnaires by January 31. Responses will be posed online at

The Endangered Species Coalition's mission is to stop the human-caused extinction of our nation's at-risk species, to protect and restore their habitats, and to guide these fragile populations along the road to recovery.