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Poll Shows 90 Percent Support Endangered Species Act

A new poll shows that the Endangered Species Act has a 90 percent approval rating with voters. Credit: National Park Service.
A new poll shows that the Endangered Species Act has a 90 percent approval rating with voters. Credit: National Park Service.
July 8, 2015

HELENA, Mont. - The Endangered Species Act turns out to be popular among voters and in a positive way. Ninety percent of those polled say they support ESA, according to a survey conducted by Tulchin Research for Defenders of Wildlife and Earthjustice.

In addition, nearly three-fourths of those surveyed say decisions about listings should be made by biologists with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and not politicians.

Robert Dewey, vice president of government affairs with Defenders of Wildlife, says since January, more than 50 proposals have been made in Congress to weaken the Endangered Species Act or eliminate protections for specific species.

"The poll results are a strong rejection of congressional efforts to politicize endangered species protection," says Dewey. "These decisions should be made by agency biologists, based on science. Clearly, an overwhelming majority of the American public agrees."

There are 19 species in Montana either listed under ESA or are candidates for listing, including greater sage-grouse, whooping cranes and grizzlies. Sixty-six percent in the poll rejected the reasoning that listing a species means a trade-off of job losses or economic harm.

Less than one-fourth agreed with ESA critics that the act hurts the economy and destroys jobs. The margin of error is plus-or-minus four percentage points.

Dewey hopes the poll results will serve as a wake-up call to members of the House, demonstrating that the public doesn't agree with moves to dismantle the ESA and won't stand for it.

"This torrent of new attacks shows that Congress is pursuing an agenda that mirrors more the wishes of big oil, timber, mining companies and other development interests rather than the American public," says Dewey

The House is expected to finish the Interior appropriations bill by the end of this week. It contains 25 "riders" targeted at the ESA.

Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - MT