The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Jay Petrequin Communications Specialist

Defenders: Bill Would Push Critically Endangered Right Whales to Brink of Extinction

On Thursday, the Water, Wildlife and Fisheries Subcommittee of the House Committee on Natural Resources is considering H.R. 8704, a bill that would push the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale to the brink of extinction. Sponsored by Rep. Earl “Buddy” Carter (R-GA), the legislation would prevent NOAA Fisheries from enforcing expansions to an outdated 2008 vessel speed rule to mitigate the risk of deadly vessel strikes until Dec. 31, 2030. Proposed amendments to the vessel speed rule are currently undergoing review at the Office of Management and Budget.

Defenders of Wildlife senior government relations representative Dan Moss released the following statement in response to the bill:

“This bill is an attack on a species at the brink of extinction. Only around 360 North Atlantic right whales survive today, including fewer than 70 reproductive females. Vessel strikes in U.S. waters continue to injure and kill these whales at grossly unsustainable levels, including four mortalities this year alone. By blocking science-based improvements to the vessel speed rule, this bill effectively issues a death warrant to this critically endangered species.”

Defenders of Wildlife is the premier U.S.-based national conservation organization dedicated to the protection and restoration of imperiled species and their habitats in North America.

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