Protecting the Endangered Species Act Protects People and Nature

Statement of Eric Holst, Associate Vice President of Working Lands, Environmental Defense Fund

February 15, 2017
Chandler Clay, (202) 572-3312,

(WASHINGTON – February 15, 2017) The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works held a hearing at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, February 15, 2017 to discuss the “Modernization of the Endangered Species Act.”

“The Endangered Species Act (ESA) is one of our nation’s bedrock environmental laws, preventing the extinction of some of America’s most iconic wildlife – from the bald eagle that flies on the presidential seal to the New England cottontail that inspired the beloved fictional character Peter Rabbit.

“It should come as no surprise that the overwhelming majority of Americans, 90 percent of voters, support the law and want to see continued protections for the open prairie, tall forests and clean rivers that our nation’s wildlife call home. By protecting these ecosystems, we are also protecting healthy communities, vibrant recreation economies, and a rich natural heritage for future generations of Americans to enjoy.

“Rather than focusing on legislative changes to the Endangered Species Act, Congress should be focusing its efforts on supporting wildlife solutions that are flexible, efficient and cooperative. Congress should also provide the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with sufficient resources to complete timely reviews, ensure science-based decisions, foster effective conservation partnerships, and expedite the path to recovery.

“The best way to ‘modernize’ the Endangered Species Act is to maintain its essential foundations while taking fuller advantage of its flexibilities. The recent historic cooperative conservation effort to keep the greater sage-grouse off the Endangered Species List should provide the blueprint for future efforts to bring species back from the brink. America’s wildlife depend on the Endangered Species Act, and on the voluntary, market-based, state and stakeholder-led efforts that continue to evolve.”

-          Eric Holst, Associate Vice President of Working Lands, Environmental Defense Fund 

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