At the Senate Appropriations Committee markup yesterday, June 18, 2015, Sen. Udall (D-NM) offered an amendment to strike all anti-environmental riders in the Senate Interior/EPA appropriations bill, including the wolf delisting rider. Although all the Appropriations Committee Democrats (14 total) voted in favor of striking the amendment, it wasn’t enough votes. The amendment failed with a straight party line vote: 14-16. Listen to the markup, here.
This means that the Senate Interior/EPA appropriations bill passed out of committee with the rider to delist wolves in Wyoming, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan attached. The House Interior/EPA appropriations bill including the same rider as the Senate bill will go to the House floor next week.
The draft bill includes more than 20 policy riders that could prove detrimental to our environment. In addition to proposing to legislatively delist the gray wolf in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Wyoming, there is also a rider that would prevent US Fish and Wildlife Service from listing the sage grouse as threatened or endangered. There are also provisions that would prevent the EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, and others that would challenge the effectiveness of the Clean Water Act. In short, these anti-environmental riders pose a threat to many of the laws aimed at environmental protection that we, as Americans, hold dear.
Important protections for wildlife like the Endangered Species Act (ESA) do more than just protect individual species. By protecting keystone species like the gray wolf, more resilient ecosystems are created and biodiversity is increased – both crucial as we begin to see an increase in extinctions as a result of climate change.
We need now, more than ever, to preserve the laws that protect our environment. Thank you to everyone who called their senators about the wolf delisting rider. Please continue to reach out to your senators and representatives and the Obama administration to encourage protection of both the gray wolf and the integrity of our environmental protection laws, like the ESA.
If you’d like to thank the Senate Appropriation members who voted to get rid of the anti-environmental riders, here is a list of who to thank:
Thank you to Earthjustice for your help in publicizing this information.