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


August 13, 2008


Contact: Kristina Johnson




McCain Silent on Bush Assault on Endangered Species Act;

Obama Would Defend Scientists, Protect Threatened Wildlife


San Francisco, Calif.—On Monday the Bush administration announced a plan to gut the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and take protection of wildlife out of the hands of seasoned agency scientists and put it into the hands of political appointees and others not qualified to make such determinations.


A spokesman for Senator Barack Obama today said that Obama would throw out the plan if elected.  Meanwhile, Senator McCain refused to comment on the issue. But McCain's voting record shows an alarming pattern of supporting politics over science in endangered species decision-making.


In 1995, McCain voted to prohibit the addition of any new species to the endangered species list.  (S. 889, Roll Call Vote 106, 3/16/1995), and cast the deciding vote to effectively continue the listing moratorium in 1996 (vote to table S.Amdt.3479 to H.R. 3019, Roll Call Vote 30, 3/13/1996).  He has also voted against enforcement of ESA regulations on several other occasions.


Statement of Sierra Club Political Director Cathy Duvall:


"A politician is not the best judge of whether or not an animal is in danger. By voting to stop new listings of endangered species, Senator McCain put politics and special interests ahead of science and critical protections for our wildlife.  And now he won’t even comment on the latest effort by the Bush administration to gut one of our nation’s most important environmental laws."


"When it comes to protecting wildlife, we need to listen to the scientists who have spent their lives studying these animals. Senator Obama has indicated a commitment to making decisions based on science rather than politics—not just when it comes to Endangered Species listings, but on many other fronts."


"If John McCain is elected, we'll see more of what we've seen under the Bush administration, including political meddling in science, distortion of facts, and silencing of wildlife experts.  If John McCain the candidate is unwilling to even speak out against an assault on one of our nation’s bedrock environmental laws, it doesn’t seem likely a President McCain would do much to protect them either.


"If these Bush administration regulations had been in place twenty years ago, we would not have brought the bald eagle back from the brink of extinction. Senator Obama understands that the protection of our wildlife should be left to scientists, not politicians.


“John McCain wants to have it both ways.  He says he supports renewable energy, but then votes against it.  He says he supports environmental protection, but then votes against enforcing some our nation’s most important environmental laws.  He says he’ll put science before politics, but then stands silently by while the Bush administration continues its unlawful assault on science and the law.  It’s time for John McCain to be honest and give voters some real straight talk about his record on these important issues.”


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Paid for by the Sierra Club Political Committee,, and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.

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