Hundreds of Rare and Vanishing Species Kept Waiting for Protection, While Even Protected Species Get Only Breadcrumbs for Recovery
WASHINGTON— In the midst of what top scientists agree is an unprecedented human-caused extinction crisis, the Fiscal Year 2015 budget proposal from the Obama administration would result in cuts in funding in real dollars for the protection and recovery of endangered species.
In its proposal the administration requested approximately $18.8 million to list and protect highly imperiled species under the Endangered Species Act and another $4 million to designate critical habitat for listed species — a small increase from last year, but roughly the same amount of funding received in 2010, prior to three years of cuts under budget sequestration. The Fish and Wildlife Service’s overall budget for the endangered species program remained approximately the same at around $170 million, less than the cost of a single F-35C fighter jet.
“In the face of ongoing habitat loss, climate change and extinction, this chronic underfunding of our nation’s most important conservation program unconscionably passes on the mounting burdens of our own environmental debt to our children,” said Brett Hartl, endangered species policy director at the Center for Biological Diversity.
“President Obama’s endangered species budget request barely maintains the status quo, leaving most endangered species no closer to hope of recovery. Hundreds of species still need protection under the Endangered Species Act, and sadly this budget request means that many of them, which have been waiting decades for protection while hovering on the brink of extinction, will have to keep on waiting.”
The Fish and Wildlife Service budget request would maintain funding for recovery and endangered species consultations at approximately the same level as in 2013, but this represents a cut in funding both in real dollars and compared to recent funding levels at the start of President Obama’s first term. The budget reduces funding to the cooperative endangered species fund, the state and tribal wildlife grants program, and maintains funding for the multinational species conservation fund at reduced sequester levels.
“The reality is that more than 200 endangered species receive less than $5,000 per year for their recovery, and of those species, almost 100 receive less than $1,000 or just $3 per day,” said Hartl. “We need a much stronger commitment from this president if he truly wants to tackle the extinction crisis here and abroad.”