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Press Room:  For Immediate Release 
Explore, Enjoy and Protect the Planet

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May 20, 2011

Contact:
Virginia Cramer, 804-225-9113 x 102

Sierra Club Celebrates Endangered Species Day

Today the nation celebrates Endangered Species Day, recognizing the progress made in protecting some of our most iconic wildlife, like the bald eagle. Much of that progress is thanks to the Endangered Species Act which has served as a safety net for our country’s rarest plants and animals for more than three decades.

Unfortunately this cornerstone conservation law is under attack. In a dangerous move away from science-based decision making, Congress recently approved a measure to remove gray wolves in the Northern Rockies from the Endangered Species list. Now Congress is primed and ready to dismantle the Endangered Species Act with new fervor.

To mark Endangered Species Day Fran Hunt, Director of the Sierra Club's Resilient Habitats campaign issued the following statement.

"Today our endangered wildlife are facing greater threats than ever before—from destructive energy development, to unsustainable logging, to a rapidly changing climate. Rising temperatures are affecting the habitats, migration routes, and food sources our wildlife need.  It is our job to help wildlife adapt.

The latest science tells us that the best way to help endangered animals is not simply to set aside protected areas for them, but also to connect and restore those places to create healthy natural communities. Healthy natural systems provide a wealth of benefits, including clean air and clean water, and are better able to adjust in a rapidly changing world.

The Endangered Species Act and the protections it grants wildlife is a vital piece of this puzzle, helping to ensure the needed natural balance. Its power lies in sound, science-based management, free from political interference.

Yet Congress is already making moves to further undermine the Endangered Species Act, holding hearings and introducing legislation to take wildlife management decisions out of the hands of scientists.  These moves threaten the progress that we are celebrating today in bringing keystone animals back from the brink of extinction.

The fate of our imperiled plants and animals should be based on science, not political whim. The long-term health and well-being of wildlife, our communities and our great outdoors depend on it. We will continue to fight to make sure that America’s wildlife don’t become just a memory."

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The Sierra Club's Resilient Habitats Campaign is working across the country to protect, connect and restore America's great outdoors. By safeguarding our nation's wild lands and waters, we are creating healthy natural systems that will help plants, animals and people survive and thrive in a changing climate. www.sierraclub.org/habitat



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