Horse News

Western Governors’ Association Endorses Gutting Endangered Species Act

PR from the Center for Biological Diversity

“…“can’t be a zoo for endangered species.”

WHITEFISH, Mont.— The Western Governors’ Association endorsed a policy resolution today that, if adopted into law, would substantially weaken the core of the Endangered Species Act.

Policy resolution 2017-11 recommends delaying lifesaving protections for at-risk wildlife and curtailing the ability of ordinary citizens to challenge agency decisions in court. The resolution would weaken critical habitat protections in areas needed for species recovery and tamper with the Act’s “best available science” mandate.

“All you varmints gonna DIE!”

This policy resolution was primarily driven by Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead, a Republican, who has spearheaded his “Species Conservation and Endangered Species Initiative” over the past two years to develop recommendations for changes to the Endangered Species Act. Last week Mead stated that the Act is “not good industry, it’s not good for business and, quite frankly, it’s not good for the species,” and that Wyoming “can’t be a zoo for endangered species.”

“The Western Governors’ Association resolution is another cynical attack on the Endangered Species Act that will be used by congressional Republicans to justify gutting this landmark conservation law,” said Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Politicizing science, disrupting the citizen petition process and gutting critical habitat won’t help a single endangered species move an inch closer to recovery. These governors should be ashamed of themselves.”

In February more than 280 environmental, animal-protection, faith-based, outdoor-recreational and social-justice groups sent a letter to the National Governors Association urging the organization to oppose any upcoming legislative changes to the Endangered Species Act. Specifically, the letter asks the national association not to support an ongoing effort led by the Western Governors’ Association to weaken the bedrock wildlife law.

On Tuesday California Gov. Jerry Brown sent a letter to the Western Governors’ Association opposing the resolution on the Endangered Species Act.

“Gov. Brown is absolutely correct that this resolution won’t help the recovery of endangered species at all,” said Hartl. “Republicans in Congress like Rob Bishop and John Barrasso aren’t interested in improving the Act — they want to see it disappear forever.”

In December Rep. Bishop (R-Utah) said “I would be happy to invalidate the Endangered Species Act” and wanted to pursue a repeal-and-replace strategy for legislation for the Act. Meanwhile Sen. Barrasso (R-Wyo.) has sponsored or cosponsored eight bills attacking the Endangered Species Act since 2015 and voted against the Act nearly a dozen times since 2011.

“The Endangered Species Act is our nation’s most successful conservation law and has prevented the extinction of 99 percent of the plants and animals under its protection,” said Hartl. “This resolution is completely out of touch with the overwhelming majority of Americans that want to strengthen the Act and recognize that it has saved bald eagles, gray whales, American alligators and other iconic wildlife from the brink of extinction.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.3 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

13 replies »

  1. This article ticks me off so – cant even come up with a comment that says how I feel! Not to be political (which of course it is, I guess) but why is this one party so bent upon eradicating not only our wild horses – but all wild predators? I dont think its part of their platform – really ashamed that I am still a member of that party at this point. Sorry, RT.


  2. Sue Wallis was in Good Company with Mead. Explains it all doesn’t it? They can’t affect Federally Protected Wildlife if that’s where he’s going with it.


    • I meant they can affect Federally protected wildlife, sorry. Thats in reference to Wallis’ comment on Federal Wildlife Protections.


  3. Rob Bishop, as a powerful politician, just couldn’t care less about wildlife or wild places of America and wants to sell them off to the highest bidder. Barrasso was an orthopedic surgeon in Wyoming who couldn’t care less either. These are just two along with the Western governors who use Trump as their figurehead.


  4. When Congress passed the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1973, it recognized that our rich natural heritage is of “esthetic, ecological, educational, recreational, and scientific value to our Nation and its people.”
    Apparently Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead and his cronies think that none of this matters and that the only thing that matters is exploitation of our natural heritage and resources by big money corporations.


  5. Moving Outdoor Retailer Isn’t About Politics. It’s About Money.

    The company that runs the industry’s largest trade show is listening, but more brands need to speak up if they really want to make Utah feel the hurt

    On Tuesday, Patagonia sent shock waves through the outdoor industry when the company announced it would no longer attend the biannual Outdoor Retailer trade show if it was held in Salt Lake City. OR, as it’s known, has long been the outdoor industry’s largest core gathering—a place to show off the hottest new gear, build buzz, and codify trends. Each summer and winter, 20,000 people pour into Salt Lake City and the adjacent Wasatch Range for the show. Suddenly this week, however, that relationship is in jeopardy, as a growing number of brands are unhappy for one simple reason: Utah’s desire to remove public lands from federal management.

    Utah is a leader in the movement to transfer federal lands to the states, which concerns adventurers and sportsmen who believe those lands will be compromised or sold off entirely to development. In late January, Utah Representative Jason Chaffetz introduced one bill that would eliminate law enforcement within the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management and another directing the U.S. Department of the Interior to sell 3.37 million acres of federal land to the states

    Update (February 9, 2017): Several other companies have now boycotted the Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake City. Arc’teryx is the largest company to join Patagonia in their boycott. “The Outdoor Industry has an obligation to protect the wild places that are important to our consumers,” wrote company president Jon Hoerauf. “Since 2014, we’ve been part of the efforts to protect Bears Ears, supporting local grassroots organizations working on a legislated solution. Protecting public lands for future generations is a critical part of our brand values and we will use our influence in a way that is consistent with those values.


  6. Protecting native wildlife in their natural habitat is a ‘zoo’? The ignorance and stupidity of these people is so spectacular, my jaw is literally dropping. Governors? These people are not fit to govern anything. The sad part is that they just might succeed. Where is the rest of the country on this?


  7. You know, this is the time it’s tempting to side with the hunting and angling community who will crush them.


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