Letter From The Desert: Defend the Endangered Species Act

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This baby black-footed ferret can hardly believe anyone would do such a thing.

Today's set of actions is simple. Republicans intend to take advantage of their control of the Legislative and Executive Branches to repeal the Endangered Species Act. We need to tell them not to do that.

First: read Joshua Zaffos' article in High Country News describing the latest attempts to turn back the clock on endangered species protection in the United States.

Second: Find your Congressional Representative and call their office, urging them to resist any attempts to repeal or weaken the Endangered Species Act. Representatives pay more attention to phone calls than they do emails or online petition signatures. You don't have to say anything other than "I urge you to resist any attempts to repeal or weaken the Endangered Species Act," because phone calls are tallied by topic and your position and that topic, without other information. But if you need to add arguments, you can mention that the ESA rarely restricts economic activity and that 80 percent of Americans support it.

Third: Call Utah Representative Rob Bishop's Washington office at (202) 225-0453 and say the same thing. Bishop is a major proponent of repeal of the Endangered Species Act, and will likely be a sponsor or co-sponsor of any legislation to weaken or abolish the ESA.

Special Bonus Action: This week, President Obama made two important designations of new National Monuments, Bears Ears in Utah and Gold Butte in Nevada, totaling 1.65 million acres. These designagtions are important in themselves for protecting endangered species, Native cultural resources, and public lands in general. They're also going to be intensely unpopular among conservatives in Western States. It's important that Obama can point to public support for the monuments. Call the White House comment line at (202) 456-1111 and thank the President for designating the Monuments.

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We should preserve every scrap of biodiversity as priceless while we learn to use it and come to understand what it means to humanity. — E. O. Wilson

Look for more news and action opportunities coming soon. This newsletter's format may change as we get our feet under us: your suggestions for fine-tuning are welcome. Opinions expressed here are mine alone and not my employers or anyone else's, though you're certainly welcome to borrow them.