A bipartisan effort is underway to bring the Endangered Species Act into the 21st Century. The Public Lands Council and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association have launched an online campaign to educate the public on the need for a modernized Endangered Species Act. The campaign, which focuses on the ranching industry, highlights the importance of working landscapes in improving ecological services and achieving species conservation targets.
The campaign comes at a pivotal time, as Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, introduced the Endangered Species Act Amendments of 2018. Barrasso’s policy is based on bipartisan policy recommendations from the Western Governors’ Association (WGA) that was informed by several years of workshops and roundtables held throughout the west and including key stakeholders across the political spectrum. Besides PLC and NCBA (as well as many of its state affiliates) participants included state wildlife agencies, conservation groups such as The Audubon Society, The Nature Conservancy, and Environmental Defense Fund, as well as energy companies and sportsmen’s groups.
“The Endangered Species Act is showing its age, and needs to be modernized in order to really accomplish its core goal of recovering imperiled species. Without this bipartisan effort, we fear that litigation will remain firmly in the driver’s seat, rather than science.” PLC President Dave Eliason said. “Participating in the WGA Initiative over the past few years has been a real eye-opener for our industry, and the resulting legislation finally moves us towards a functioning ESA.”
According to Kevin Kester, California rancher and NCBA President, the Endangered Species Act Amendments of 2018 is a once in a lifetime opportunity for species conservation reform.
“This campaign will help ranchers tell their stories about how ESA impacts their operation and draw that connection for their elected officials on Capitol Hill. This is particularly important as the Endangered Species Act Amendments of 2018 are considered by the Senate,” Kester said. “But it’s also about clearing the air. We want to ensure America understands that the Endangered Species Act needs to be brought into the 21st century. I hope our messages educates elected officials, the media, and the public about the role of ranching in species recovery and habitat conservation.”