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"Help Keep Science In The Endangered Species Act" (deadline for signatures 1/20/ January 13, 2006 4:23 AM

Help Keep Science In The Endangered Species Act
A Letter From Francesca Grifo, Ph.D./Senior Scientist and Director Scientific Integrity Program/The Union Of Concerned Scientists

I am writing today to invite you to join with eminent biologists Jane
Lubchenco, Gordon Orians, Stuart Pimm, and Peter Raven in signing an
open letter to the United States Senate concerning the appropriate use
of science in the Endangered Species Act (ESA). If you possess or are
working towards an advanced degree in biological sciences, please review
the sign-on letter and add your name online by January 20 at

http://www.ucsusa.org/scientific_integrity/restoring/biologists-letter-on=
.html

The ESA has provided protection for our most threatened and endangered
animals and their habitats for over thirty years. "The Endangered
Species Act is more than just a law," write the biologists. "It is the
ultimate safety net in our life support system."

As legislation makes its way through Congress that could severely
undermine the ESA's scientific principles, a strong, unified statement
from biological experts will help protect the ESA's scientific
underpinnings and ensure that endangered species policy and practice
will continue to conserve biodiversity.

The letter with the full complement of signatures will be delivered to
each U.S. Senator in early February. The letter will also be used to
generate media coverage and other public awareness of this issue.
Affiliations will be used for identification purposes only; you may
request to sign without an affiliation.

DEADLINE: ASAP
Reply no later than January 20th to ensure that your name appears on
the letter delivered to the U.S. Senate.

When you have signed, please forward this email to your colleagues,
giving each of them the opportunity to sign on.

THE ISSUE
Last August, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation that
undermines the science behind the ESA in significant ways. First, the
legislation transfers the authority of deciding what is the best
available science from scientists to political appointees. Second, the
legislation requires decisions affecting species to be based on
empirical data - effectively eliminating the use of established
scientific techniques such as modeling, population surveys, and
taxonomic and genetic studies. In addition, the legislation removes the
protection for habitat that species need for survival and recovery.

The House legislation would fundamentally and negatively alter the way
science would inform critical decisions affecting endangered and
threatened species. Furthermore, it represents a Congressional assault
on scientific integrity and the ability of federal scientists to do
their jobs.

As early as February, the Senate may create its own version of this
legislation. A number of prominent biologists have come together to urge
the Senate to keep the scientific foundation of the ESA intact. They are
asking their colleagues to join them in signing the letter from
biological scientists to the U.S. Senate the Senate:

http://www.ucsusa.org/scientific_integrity/restoring/biologists-letter-on=
.html

Leaders in this effort include David Bain, Ron Carroll, Paul Ehrlich,
Melissa Grigione, Lynn Maquire, Jane Lubchenco, Dennis Murphy, Gordon
Orians, Stuart Pimm, Barry Noon, Peter Raven, and John Terborgh. The
Union of Concerned Scientists, collaborating with EarthJustice and the
National Wildlife Federation (NWF), is providing strategic and
logistical support for this an effort.

Please act today to read and sign the letter:

http://www.ucsusa.org/scientific_integrity/restoring/biologists-letter-on=
.html

Thanks for all you do to protect the integrity of science.

Regards,

Francesca Grifo, Ph.D.
Senior Scientist and Director
Scientific Integrity Program
Union of Concerned Scientists

Note: For more on the House legislation, see the National Wildlife
Federation's analysis at
http://www.nwf.org/resourceLibrary/getData.cfm?officeID=3D15D39898-FEF7-0=
077-300221CD0852182F&catID=3D3A8651F3-A4A3-2232-B545994E699FA2E0&pageID=3D=
3780F60E-9279-7263-B972965FD951038B


and EarthJustice's analysis at
http://www.savetheact.org/threats.html
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