Today, Reps. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and Don Beyer (D-VA) led a coalition of 94 Democrats in a letter to the House Appropriations Committee calling for robust funding for the Endangered Species Act (ESA) listing, planning and consultation, species conservation and restoration and recovery process. The lawmakers cited the need for continued support for the ESA process due to the 480 U.S. listed species that still lack recovery plans, along with the hundreds of species that receive zero federal or state recovery funding.
The Members wrote:
“As you consider the fiscal year 2020 Interior and Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations, we urge you to support robust funding for Endangered Species Act (ESA) listing, planning and consultation, species conservation and restoration, and recovery process, all of which have been systemically and severely underfunded for many years.
“In enacting the Endangered Species Act of 1973, Congress recognized that imperiled species of wildlife, fish, and plants “are of esthetic, ecological, educational, historical, recreational, and scientific value to the Nation and its people.” The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) employ, to great effect, a suite of mechanisms to carry out the law’s aim of conserving endangered and threatened species and the habitat upon which they depend. Their efforts have successfully prevented the extinction of 99 percent of all species listed as threatened or endangered under the Act.
“The need for increased recovery funding is evident from the more than 480 U.S. listed species that lack recovery plans and the hundreds of species that receive zero dollars in recovery funding from any agency – federal or state. Congressional appropriations for recovery and consultation have simply not kept pace with the number of listed species or the complex challenges of conservation in a world facing the consequences of climate change. Inadequate funding not only puts at risk the recovery of threatened and endangered species and conservation of their habitats; it also impedes FWS and NMFS’s ability to apply the best scientific knowledge available in a timely review of listing decisions for species in need of protection.”