Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Politics and the Environment: legislative rider and other tricks can undermine environmental laws

One of politics' most insidious little inventions is the "rider" - an attachment to an unrelated piece of legislation that enables passage under the cover of radar of something that it's supporters would prefer to not see get much public exposure. The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) is rightfully concerned how the rider is being used to undermine environmental laws and regulations. It's something that we all should be concerned about.

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber, recently wrote to President Obama expressing serious concern over the rider on the budget bill, signed by the president, which takes wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains off the endangered species list -- "a highly undesirable precedent," the governor noted, on an issue that "deserve[d] open and informed debate."
Kitzhaber asked the president to "avoid repeating such an approach to policy decision-making" in the future. And indeed, the threat of special interests trumping species protection is great:
  • Livestock interests and the anti-wolf Arizona Game and Fish Department are seeking legislative delisting of all gray wolves in the nation, including the approximately 50 Mexican gray wolves surviving in Arizona and New Mexico.
  • The oil and gas industry is seeking to exempt greenhouse gases from regulation, despite their catastrophic effects on polar bears, walruses, coral reefs and much more.
  • Agribusiness interests in California are seeking a rider to deprive the San Francisco Bay ecosystem of the water necessary to keep delta smelt and many other imperiled fish from extinction.
Please ask your governor to join in writing the president, expressing dismay that wolves were delisted via congressional rider and requesting presidential leadership to ensure that the Endangered Species Act will not be circumvented again.

CBD can help you send a message to your governor. Just click here.

1 comment:

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