Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

For Immediate Release

Contact

Press Release

Petition Urges Biden Administration to Strengthen Endangered Species Act to Save Life on Earth

WASHINGTON -

The Center for Biological Diversity filed a comprehensive legal petition today urging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service to take bold, unprecedented action to stem the global wildlife extinction crisis by strengthening the Endangered Species Act’s implementing regulations.

Noting that “extinction is not inevitable — it is a political choice,” today’s petition calls on the two federal agencies to not only undo the Trump-era rollbacks to the Act, but to push for ambitious new regulatory safeguards that strengthen all aspects of the law.

The petition calls on the services to holistically address the threat of climate change, reduce illegal political interference that undermines scientific integrity, strengthen law enforcement and add new measures to ensure accountability for extractive industries that harm the habitats of endangered species.

“The Endangered Species Act has saved hundreds of irreplaceable plants and animals from extinction, but it could be doing so much more good,” said Stephanie Kurose, a senior policy specialist at the Center. “Despite the law’s remarkable success, the services have been reluctant to fully implement it, succumbing to years of political and industry pressure to weaken what is the only hope for imperiled species. The time for reform is now.”

In addition to undoing the Trump-era rollbacks — which the Biden administration has started to do, but at a sluggish pace — the petition calls for more ambitious improvements to achieve the Act’s mandate that extinction be halted “whatever the cost.” Some of those improvements include:

  • Empowering career scientists to make science-based decisions without fear of political reprisal;
  • Guaranteeing that federal agencies can no longer ignore the impacts of greenhouse gas emissions from their actions on climate change and climate-imperiled species;
  • Strengthening protections for critical habitat to protect key areas where species can live;
  • Creating a scientifically defensible definition of recovery;
  • Defining “significant portion of its range” to fulfill Congress’ intent that species be protected before they are threatened with worldwide extinction;
  • Requiring all federal agencies to have proactive conservation programs in place for listed species harmed by their actions;
  • Requiring habitat conservation plans to confer a net benefit whenever development activities harm endangered species;
  • Strengthening protections for foreign listed species;
  • Strengthening the regulations governing the reintroduction of experimental populations; and
  • Revamping the enhancement permitting program to address dubious trophy hunting practices overseas that do not actually enhance the survival or propagation of species.

“Combating the extinction crisis and restoring our natural heritage are monumental challenges that will require the services to be more visionary than any other administration in history,” said Kurose. “We challenge Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and the Biden administration to change the status quo and do whatever it takes to protect our planet for future generations.”

###

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. 

Historic Offshore Wind Lease Sale in California Gets Over $750 Million in Winning Bids

"If we build on today's forward momentum, the United States can dramatically reduce its global warming emissions and become a global leader in renewable energy technologies like deep-water offshore wind."

Brett Wilkins ·


Solidarity Fund Up and Running for Designer Behind Iconic Bernie Sanders Posters

Tyler Evans "has dedicated his life to the progressive movement," says the GoFundMe created for the hospitalized designer. "Now it's our time to have Tyler's back when he and his family need it most."

Jessica Corbett ·


Journalism Defenders Push for Passage of 'Game-Changing' PRESS Act

"The PRESS Act is the most important free press legislation in modern times because it would finally stop the government from spying on journalists and threatening them with arrest for doing their jobs," explained one advocate.

Brett Wilkins ·


New York Times Union Workers Planning Dec. 8 Walkout, Rally Over Pay

"Our collective action is working: Management backed off its attempt to kill our pension and agreed to expand fertility benefits," the union said of ongoing talks. "But management still barely budged on some of our most important priorities."

Jessica Corbett ·


Dems Back Blue Dog Spanberger for Swing District Post Over Progressive Cartwright

The corporate Democrat's path to victory was "pretty simple," said one progressive. "Matt Cartwright supports Medicare for All and Spanberger is a former CIA agent who spends all her time punching left."

Julia Conley ·

Common Dreams Logo