WASHINGTON—Today the Senate rejected an amendment that would have removed federal protections for the lesser prairie chicken, an iconic grassland grouse whose population recently plummeted leading to a 2014 threatened listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Senator Moran of Kansas introduced the amendment which would have immediately and permanently delisted the imperiled birds, jeopardizing conservation and recovery of the species.
The following is a statement from Robert Dewey, Defenders of Wildlife Vice President of Government Relations and External Affairs:
“Senator Moran’s amendment was the most recent in a series of congressional assaults on the ESA and other laws that protect America’s air, land, water and imperiled wildlife. The lesser prairie chicken is struggling for survival and protecting it under the ESA is the only credible way to stave off extinction. Fortunately, members of the Senate refused to inject themselves into the biological-based listing process under the ESA which needs to be driven by the best available science and not politics.”
“We need members of Congress who will support the laws that keep our air, lands, water and wildlife healthy and thriving for future generations. In rejecting Senator Moran’s amendment, the Senate not only voted to continue protecting a species facing dire threats, but also beat back yet another political attack on the science and law protecting America’s treasured wildlife. In fact, the failure of this Senate ESA attack was the second in as many weeks. Last week Senator Lee introduced an amendment to limit citizens’ ability to hold the government accountable when it fails to properly enforce the Endangered Species Act. This amendment was also thankfully defeated.”