The U.S. House of Representatives voted not to include the “extinction rider” in the Interior Appropriations bill, which would have been a major blow to endangered species and prevented the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from including new species for protection under the Endangered Species Act or designating critical habitat, despite having more than 250 species on the waiting list.
The House voted 224-202 in favor of Norman Dicks’ (D-WA) amendment to remove the rider, which was co-sponsored by Reps. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Mike Thompson (D-CA) and Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI).
“The extinction rider would have been a disaster for hundreds of animals and plants across the country that desperately need the help of the Endangered Species Act to survive,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species program director for the Center for Biological Diversity. “Today’s vote is a promising sign for wolverines, walruses and species in all 50 states that, without help, face the very real prospect of extinction.”
The ESA, which was enacted in 1973, has provided critical protection and allowed for the recovery efforts for species who might not otherwise be around today, such as the bald eagle, peregrine falcon and Florida panther, while others have been waiting years for inclusion as their populations dwindle. With this provision removed, the FWS will be able to do its job and protect imperiled species.
Photo credit: USFWS via flickr