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McCollum Honored as "Champion of the Endangered Species Act"

March 17, 2016
Press Release

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) March 16, 2016 — Congresswoman Betty McCollum was one of eight members of Congress recognized today by leading national conservation groups for their critical role in protecting the Endangered Species Act. The “Champions of the Endangered Species Act” reception featured former Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt and, in addition to Rep. McCollum, honored Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Tom Udall (D-NM), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and House members Don Beyer (D-VA), Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), and Niki Tsongas (D-MA).

Rep. McCollum called the award a "tremendous honor" and reiterated her thanks to all the groups and their membership for assisting in last year's battle to rid the omnibus appropriations act of over two hundred harmful policy riders including many that directly targeted the Endangered Species Act.

"Whether it is protecting gray wolves in Minnesota or the African elephant, I am committed to standing with you to make sure future generations are not without these precious species,” McCollum said. "I am honored to receive this recognition from all of you who work day in and day out to preserve our nation's wildlife and the ecosystems they rely on."

The honorees were recognized by the Animal Welfare Institute, Audubon, Born Free USA, the Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, Earthjustice, the Endangered Species Coalition, Environmental Defense Fund, the League of Conservation Voters, the Native Plant Conservation Campaign, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club, the Union of Concerned Scientists, WildEarth Guardians, and Wildlands Network.

The groups jointly issued the following statement: “We celebrate and honor these conservation leaders whose vision and leadership has created a legacy of immeasurable benefit to our environment, to our nation’s most imperiled wildlife, and to our communities. Their tireless support for wildlife is vital as powerful special interests continue efforts to weaken or eliminate the Endangered Species Act and other bedrock conservation laws grounded in science."

The Endangered Species Act is more at risk today than ever before, as several members of Congress continue to push legislative agendas designed to undermine the Act, threatening public lands and iconic wildlife. Collectively, the legislative attacks on the Endangered Species Act introduced by this Congress represent the most sweeping attacks since the landmark conservation law was passed 43 years ago.

The repeated attacks come despite strong public support for the Endangered Species Act. A July 2015 poll found that 90 percent of U.S. voters support the Endangered Species Act, affirming similar findings from previous polls over the last decade.