At the Center for Biological Diversity Action Fund, we believe that all politicians – Republican or Democrat – should be held accountable when they undermine critical protections for our nation’s imperiled animals and plants.
Extinction Democrats are members of the House and Senate who have aggressively sought to drive endangered species extinct or destroy the wild places they need to survive and thrive.
Sen. Schumer inserted a last-minute rider into the 2023 omnibus budget bill
that potentially condemns the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale to extinction. The rider exempts the lobster industry from the requirements of the Endangered Species Act and Marine Mammal Protection Act until 2028, allowing right whales to be entangled and drowned in lobster gear without impunity.
As former Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Sen. Leahy passed woefully inadequate government funding bills that ignored the extinction crisis, maintained status-quo funding levels for endangered species, and retained environmental poison pill riders, including a rider preventing the listing of the sage grouse—a highly imperiled bird that continues to slide towards extinction—and a rider that prohibits federal agencies from regulating the use of lead ammunition, despite its known toxicity to wildlife.
Sen. King aggressively lobbied in support of the North Atlantic right whale extinction rider, which was successfully inserted in the 2023 omnibus budget bill. By doing the bidding of the Maine lobster industry—which has the highest concentration of vertical fishing line in U.S. waters yet vehemently fought efforts to allow scientists to document the source of whale entanglements—Sen. King sacrificed these amazing whales to extinction.
In addition to supporting the North Atlantic right whale extinction rider, Rep. Golden introduced a rider to the FY2020 appropriations bill that would block critical funding needed to implement lobster fishing rules to protect the right whale. Rep. Golden was also the sole Democrat to vote against the Build Back Better Act, which provided $180 million for endangered species recovery activities and $20 million to stand up extinction prevention programs for four of the most critically endangered groups of species: butterflies, freshwater mussels, desert fish, and Hawaiian plants.
Sen. Joe Manchin introduced “permitting reform” legislation that would weaken the Endangered Species Act and fast-track the approval of the Mountain Valley Pipeline in Appalachia. The pipeline
not only threatens one of the largest remaining wild landscapes in the eastern United States, it would also accelerate the extinction of the candy darter—a brightly colored fish found only in West Virginia and Virginia—and the Roanoke logperch.