The Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act and Endangered Species Act are the cornerstone pieces of the American environmental framework. Over the years this legislation has protected vital resources for continued prosperity, upheld basic human rights and returned keystone animals from the brink of extinction.
In the heated negotiations surrounding the budget bill there were a slew of efforts to gut these basic environmental protections—despite their successful track record. While attention focused on riders to undermine the Clean Air Act, efforts to undercut the Endangered Species Act quietly moved forward. Language included in the budget bill that must pass this week will remove wolves in the Northern Rockies from the Endangered Species List.
This unprecedented Congressional de-listing of a species moves dangerously away from the sound, science-based management practices that have brought iconic animals like the bald eagle back for future generations to cherish. Decisions about wildlife management and which animals need protection should be made by scientists, not politicians.
The natural world doesn’t move with the speed of the 24-hour news cycle. The results of decisions made today about wildlife management will last far beyond the next election. For the long-term health and well-being of wildlife, our communities and our great outdoors decisions must be based on science, not political whim.