The Endangered Species Act was passed in 1973 and has since been the most successful piece of legislation to protect vulnerable plants and wildlife. In fact, 99% of species protected under the Act have been saved from extinction. That means populations of animals like the humpback whale, grizzly bear, and our national emblem, the bald eagle, have been restored to safe numbers. But in May 2023, Senate Republicans and Senator Joe Manchin launched an attack on the endangered lesser-prairie chicken. This put politics over science that protections for this species were still needed. And this attack was motivated by the desire to advance dirty energy projects in the prairie chicken’s habitat.
When this news broke, Friends of the Earth immediately condemned the resolution and called on President Biden to use his veto powers to stop it. But there was still hope that the resolution would not be passed by the House. Over 40,000 FOE members took action to call on their representatives to oppose this dangerous resolution. But prior to this, FOE members had been sounding the alarm that more was needed to protect endangered species. In fact, over the past few years, 296,794 FOE supporters submitted comments calling on the Biden administration for increased protections to the Endangered Species Act.
However, even after pressure to reject this attack, the House passed the resolution to strip protections of lesser-prairie chicken, as well as the northern long-eared bat. If signed into law, this could prevent the federal government from establishing protections for these species, even if they were facing extinction.
Once again, we called on President Biden to stand up against this bold attack on a bedrock environmental law and veto the resolution. And thankfully, in September 2023, Biden made good on his word and vetoed the resolution! We can not let Republicans and other Big Oil-funded politicians threaten the Endangered Species Act after 50 years of proven success.
This win for the lesser-prairie chicken and the northern long-eared bat shows our commitment to protecting endangered species and standing up against Big Oil. And we will continue to be champions of science and truth in the face of greed and lies.