U.S. Rep Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas, joined 36 other House Republicans and voted with Democrats on Wednesday to restore funding allowing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list new threatened and endangered species.
The vote came on an amendment to an Interior Department spending bill co-sponsored by U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Wash., the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee. Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Wash., also voted for the Dicks amendment, which passed 224-202.
The amendment struck language from the bill that would have zeroed out funding for the agency to protect new animal and plant species under the Endangered Species Act, while retaining funding for delisting species.
Herrera Beutler released a statement saying, “The Endangered Species Act needs to be reviewed by Congress to make sure federal agencies are using the best science in their species listing decisions, but completely prohibiting the listing of new species as endangered was not the right approach. Congress must make balanced decisions to protect species from irreversible extinction.”
Earthjustice attorney Marjorie Mulhall said the fact that 37 Republicans “defied their party leadership today by voting to protect America’s wildlife and natural heritage and the Endangered Species Act” sent an important message.
“There are many more attacks on the environment yet to be voted on, including attacks on our clean water and clean air laws,” she said. “Political leaders in Washington should take notice that Americans care passionately about the environment and those who would weaken environmental laws are on the wrong side of the public.”