For Immediate Release
July 20, 2023
Josh Osher, Western Watersheds Project, (406) 220-2883
Erik Molvar, Western Watersheds Project, (307) 399-7910
Washington, DC – Yesterday, House Republicans on the Appropriations Committee doubled down on their attempt to severely undermine the nation’s bedrock environmental laws by adding even more cynical and insidious policy riders to the already terrible base bill passed last week out of the Interior Subcommittee. These new attacks include stripping protections from additional threatened and endangered species, blocking the regulation of harmful chemicals and pesticides, and preventing consideration of new information about climate change and other impacts to endangered species in decision making processes.
“At a time when the planet is literally cooking and we are in the midst of a Sixth Mass Extinction, House Republicans are fanning the flames with this abhorrent bill,” remarked Josh Osher, Public Policy Director for Western Watersheds Project. “Even worse than sitting on the sidelines and watching ecosystems crumble, House Republicans are pulling out the cornerstones to hasten our planet’s destruction.”
In addition to the expansion of the persistent annual rider to deny protections to greater sage grouse which now applies to the critically imperiled bi-state population, House Republicans added a rider to strip protections from grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem, deny protections to the dune sagebrush lizard, prevent the reintroduction of bison to the Charles M. Russell Wildlife Refuge, and halt regulations for rodenticides that frustrate the recovery of black-footed ferrets.
“House Republicans have larded up the nation’s annual spending bill with a smorgasbord of anti-environmental policy riders,” said Erik Molvar, Executive Director with Western Watersheds Project. “This House appropriations bill is a bald-faced attempt to hijack federal spending to implement an extreme anti-endangered species, anti-public-lands agenda.”
The bill also includes the promised rider to block completion of the proposed Bureau of Land Management (BLM) public lands rule and prevent future consideration of any similar rule. While the proposed rule needs substantial improvement, it is vitally important for the BLM to formally adopt rules to address climate change, drought, and ecosystem health and implement policies to reverse the degradation caused by current management. The package also includes a policy provision to block Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument from being managed under the full measure of conservation established in its most recent proclamation by President Biden.
“This bill has nearly everything in it that climate change deniers, polluters, and environmentally destructive industries like public lands livestock grazers, have been clamoring for years,” continued Osher. “Now that House Republicans have control of the wheel, they are driving us all over the cliff.”