Senators Call on Administration to Withdraw Proposed Changes to Endangered Species Act Rules
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Yesterday, Sens. John Kerry (D - Mass.) and Barbara Boxer (D - Calif.), along with Sens. Chris Dodd (D - Conn.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D - R.I.), Hillary Clinton (D - N.Y.), Bernie Sanders (I - Vt.), and Frank Lautenberg (D - N.J.) sent a letter to U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, urging him to withdraw the recent proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act (ESA) regulations.
"The proposed changes are inconsistent with the letter and spirit of the ESA, contradicted by federal judicial precedent, and would reduce rather than strengthen protections for imperiled fish and wildlife," the senators wrote.
The letter calls for a withdrawal of proposed changes that would signal the largest overhaul of the Endangered Species Act rules since 1986 and could dramatically weaken current U.S. protections for endangered plants and animals. If the proposals are not withdrawn, the senators requested that the comment period for these changes be extended to at least six months, with public national hearings.
Full text of the letter is below:
The Honorable Dirk Kempthorne
U.S. Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20240
Dear Secretary Kempthorne,
We are writing to express our strong concerns regarding the proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act (ESA) regulations that recently appeared in the Federal Register. We believe this proposal represents a significant departure from over three decades of ESA implementation. The proposed changes are inconsistent with the letter and spirit of the ESA, contradicted by federal judicial precedent, and would reduce rather than strengthen protections for imperiled fish and wildlife.
Therefore, we urge you to withdraw this proposal. If you do not do so, at a minimum the comment period must be extended; a 30-day comment period is completely inadequate and unacceptable for such a far-reaching regulatory change. A comment period of at least six months is needed to allow sufficient time for a series of public hearings around the country.
Thank you for your attention to this issue, and we look forward to a timely response.
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