Defending Endangered Species? Why Isn't This Obvious?

“Republican lawmakers who said the federal effort to keep species from going extinct encroaches on states’ rights, is unfair to landowners and stymies efforts by mining companies to extract resources and create jobs”

Why are we fighting to protect endangered species in 2017?

Sure, we can blame Trump. He’s certainly part of it. But many in the Republican Party actually think that landowners, businesses and apparently states should simply let species go extinct so they can make more money.

Even our national symbol of freedom, the Bald Eagle, was threatened and is now thriving. According to the World Wildlife Fund:

“A conservation success story, after being protected under the Endangered Species Act, bald eagle populations in the lower 48 states have been down listed to “threatened.” These majestic birds are still at risk due to habitat loss, toxins, and pollution.”

We know these species can be saved. There is no excuse for not trying, or actively contributing to their extinctions.

Who Wants to Stop Protecting Endangered Species and Why

Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) wants to eliminate “a lot of the red tape and the bureaucratic burdens that have been impacting our ability to create jobs.”

Contact Sen. Barrasso here

House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah) said “It’s been used to control the land. We’ve missed the entire purpose of the Endangered Species Act. It has been hijacked.”

Contact Congressman Rob Bishop here

Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.) believes the Endangered Species Act is a failure because “of more than 1,600 species listed as threatened or endangered since the act’s inception, fewer than 50 have been removed.”

Contact Sen. Inhofe here

North American Endangered and Threatened Species

Monarch Butterflies

“Milkweed, the only plant monarchs use to lay eggs and the main source of food for baby caterpillars, is disappearing all across the United States. Forests in Mexico where monarchs spend their winters are being torn down. And warmer weather is confusing butterflies, which wait for cold temperatures to begin their annual migrations.

All of these threats add up to one sad fact: monarch populations have been on the decline for decades.

Plains Bison

“Once numbering 30-60 million in North America, their numbers were decimated in just a few decades as expansion pressed westward. No other species on Earth has declined so quickly.

Black-Footed Ferret

“Recovery efforts have helped restore the black-footed ferret population to nearly 300 animals across North America. Although great strides have been made to recover the black-footed ferret, habitat loss and disease remain key threats to this highly endangered species.”

Bees

From WWF:

“Over the past decade, threats including pathogens, the loss of critical bee habitat, exposure to pesticides and colony collapse disorder have thrown both commercially managed bees and some of their wild cousins into a downward spiral. Colony numbers in the US have dropped to their lowest in 50 years.

That’s bad news for more than bees: According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, 90% of the world’s food supply comes from about 100 crop species, and 71 of those crops (especially fruits and vegetables) rely on bees for pollination. In the US, bee activities across apple orchards, pumpkin patches and alfalfa farms—among a variety of others—generate $15 billion a year.”

Profits Over Species Extinction is an Indefensible Position

Do environmental and endangered species protections make it harder for some businesses to profit?

Unequivocally, YES.

Does any business, corporation or person have the right to knowingly contribute the the extinction of an entire species to raise their profit margins?

Hell NO.

There is no defense that makes this okay. If you are in a business that contributes to the extinction of an entire species, you are in the wrong business. Find another way. How are your profits more important than an entire species?

I literally can’t believe that I felt compelled to write this column. I can’t believe that people just don’t get this automatically. I can’t believe that this is a real debate.

We need bees on this planet to survive!

Call me a snowflake, liberal, progressive, or activist. I don’t care. At least I’m not actively working to wipe out entire species from our planet.

And neither are most Republicans.

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