Endangered Species - US

Francesca Grifo fgrifo at UCSUSA.ORG
Fri Jan 20 09:21:45 CST 2006

Dear Colleagues - I am writing to invite you to sign on to a scientist
letter about the importance of the science of the US Endangered Species
Act. Please join with eminent biologists Jane Lubchenco, Tom Eisner,
Stuart Pimm, and Peter Raven in signing an open letter to the United
States Senate concerning the appropriate use of science in the Endangered
Species Act (ESA). If you are a US citizen, possess or are working towards
an advanced degree in biological sciences, please review the sign-on
letter and add your name online by January 25 at


The ESA has provided protection for our most threatened and endangered
animals and their habitats for over thirty years. “The Endangered Species
Act is more than just a law,” write the biologists, “It is the ultimate
safety net in our life support system.”

As legislation makes its way through Congress that could severely
undermine the ESA’s scientific principles, a strong, unified statement
from biological experts will help protect the ESA’s scientific
underpinnings and ensure that endangered species policy and practice will
continue to conserve biodiversity.

The letter with the full complement of signatures will be delivered to
each U.S. Senator in early February. The letter will also be used to
generate media coverage and other public awareness of this issue.
Affiliations will be used for identification purposes only; you may
request to sign without an affiliation.

Reply no later than January 25th to ensure that your name appears on the
letter delivered to the U.S. Senate.

When you have signed, please forward this email to your colleagues, giving
each of them the opportunity to sign on.

Last August, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation that
undermines the science behind the ESA in significant ways. First, the
legislation transfers the authority of deciding what is the best available
science from scientists to political appointees. Second, the legislation
requires decisions affecting species to be based on empirical data -
effectively eliminating the use of established scientific techniques such
as modeling, population surveys, and taxonomic and genetic studies. In
addition, the legislation removes the protection for habitat that species
need for survival and recovery.

The House legislation would fundamentally and negatively alter the way
science would inform critical decisions affecting endangered and
threatened species. Furthermore, it represents a Congressional assault on
scientific integrity and the ability of federal scientists to do their

As early as February, the Senate may create its own version of this
legislation; we are asking the scientific community to defend science from
congressional attacks.  A number of prominent biologists have come
together to urge the Senate to keep the scientific foundation of the ESA
intact. They are asking their colleagues to join them in signing the
letter from biological scientists to the U.S. Senate the Senate:


Leaders in this effort include David Bain, Ron Carroll, Paul Ehrlich, Tom
Eisner, Melissa Grigione, Lynn Maquire, Jane Lubchenco, Gary Meffee,
Dennis Murphy, Gordon Orians, Stuart Pimm, Barry Noon, Peter Raven, and
John Terborgh. The Union of Concerned Scientists, collaborating with
EarthJustice and the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), is providing
strategic and logistical support for this an effort.

Please act today to read and sign the letter:


For more on the House legislation, see the National Wildlife Federation’s
analysis at

and EarthJustice’s analysis at

Many thanks!

Francesca T. Grifo, Ph.D.
Senior Scientist and Director
Scientific Integrity Program
Union of Concerned Scientists
1707 H St NW, Suite 600
Washington DC 20006-3962
202-331-5446 (direct)
202-223-6133 (main number)
202-223-6162 (fax)

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