by Victoria Wittig, Project Coordinator, Save the Dunes

The Indiana dunes are home to endangered species such as pitcher's thistle, the rusty-patched bumblebee, the eastern massasauga rattlesnake, and many more. The Endangered Species Act is the first line of defense when species and their habitats are in trouble. Over the last 40 years, the Act has provided the tools required to ensure the long-term survival of species that become imperiled. Yet, this critical Act that has been successfully protecting key species that make our Indiana dunes so special is under threat. On behalf of the endangered species that make up our glorious region, we need your help. Please take action to protect the Endangered Species Act.

 

Rule Changes Proposed for the Endangered Species Act

The proposed rule changes to the Endangered Species Act, if approved, would seriously harm protection and recovery efforts for our nation's most vulnerable wildlife. Specifically, the protections would be weakened by:

  1. Depriving threatened species from automatically receiving protections to prevent them from becoming endangered.
  2. Putting economic interests before science-based decisions about listing imperiled species.
  3. Further imperil endangered species by blinding federal agencies to the broad consequences of their actions by limiting what wildlife experts can assess in their reviews of federal activities that impact species of concern.

 

Endangered Species Act Threats in the Farm Bill

Another immediate concern is Endangered Species Act threats in the Farm Bill; legislation that must be passed by September 30th. Special interests have tucked in two very troubling provisions into a version now facing final negotiations:

  1. A provision, (some refer to it as "The Poisoned Pollinator Provision"), that would do away with critical wildlife biologist review of pesticides headed to market, replacing them with reviews years after the pesticides are in use and potential damage is done.
  2. The second is within the Forestry Title of the Farm Bill. This would exempt the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management from consulting with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regarding forest management activities. This would snarl a process that is designed to ensure land management decisions will not adversely affect an endangered or threatened species or its designated critical habitat.

 

Take Action

Use the links below to voice your opposition to all three ESA rule changes on the Federal Register before Monday, September 24:

Revision of the Regulations for Listing Species and Designating Critical Habitat

Revision of Regulations for Interagency Cooperation

Revision of the Regulations for Prohibitions to Threatened Wildlife and Plants

Your voice matters. Please know that personalizing your message will have a greater impact. Here's some language to get you started:

"I strongly oppose the proposed rule changes to the Endangered Species Act. Collectively, they would weaken endangered species protections by:

  1. Depriving threatened species from automatically receiving protections to prevent them from becoming endangered.
  2. Putting economic interests before science-based decisions about listing imperiled species.
  3. Further imperil endangered species by blinding federal agencies to the broad consequences of their actions by limiting what wildlife experts can assess in their reviews of federal activities that impact species of concern.

I believe these rules are a dramatic step in the wrong direction. Moreover, 99% of listed species have survived, and many have been set on a path to recovery. The Endangered Species Act works. I strongly urge these damaging rules to be withdrawn.

Sincerely,

You"

For more background information on changes to the Farm Bill and how they impact the ESA, visit partner resources provided by the Hoosier Environmental Council.

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