Republicans spearhead Congress’s assault on endangered species with 2024 bill riders

Endangered wildlife faces a new threat as Congress's 2024 bill riders, largely driven by Republicans, push species closer to extinction.

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U.S. lawmakers, primarily Republicans, have introduced an unprecedented number of anti-wildlife measures into the fiscal year 2024 appropriations bills. This legislative move comes despite warnings from scientists about a possible sixth mass extinction, accelerated by human activities.

Studies show vertebrate species are disappearing at rates 35 times higher than historical norms, primarily due to anthropogenic pressures. This rapid loss of biodiversity is a critical concern for environmentalists and scientists globally.

The Center for Biological Diversity’s report, “Paving the Road to Extinction,” reveals that 26 out of 27 poison pill riders in the appropriations bills were inserted by Republicans. This number is the highest since the Endangered Species Act’s inception 50 years ago.

The report highlights a troubling trend of Republican lawmakers showing hostility towards endangered species. One rider specifically targets the protection of northern long-eared bats, despite their drastic population decline.

Key species targeted by these riders include two critically endangered whale species and gray wolves. Measures proposed include preventing right whale protection from ship strikes and ending protections for grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

These riders, typically embedded within larger bills, pose significant challenges for wildlife conservation. While most anti-wildlife riders have been historically rejected, even a few successful ones can cause substantial damage.

Despite public support for wildlife conservation, these legislative actions present a significant threat. Conservation groups continue to fight against these measures, emphasizing the need to protect endangered species.

“With each successful rider, we’re losing our ability to end extinction in the United States,” said Stephanie Kurose from the Center for Biological Diversity. “These attacks are deeply unpopular with the American public, who want to see our natural heritage protected for future generations to come.”

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