As a CEO, if I were given a business scenario that provided a 99% success rate, why would I not choose to support it? This scenario crossed my mind once again as I saw more wildlife protection legislation being reversed this week in Alaska.
Last month, I had the opportunity to travel from our facility in Indianapolis to Washington, D.C. to talk to our elected leaders about the importance of legislation that protects our wildlife. Specifically, we encouraged Senators Joe Donnelly and Todd Young and Rep. Susan Brooks to support a strong and fully-funded Endangered Species Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
The reason for the trip to Capitol Hill was because proposed changes to the House Farm Bill are slowly dismantling wildlife legislation. Yet, since being enacted in 1973, the Endangered Species Act has been 99% successful at preventing extinction of listed species. Can you imagine weakening something that has a 99% success rate?
What became clear to me while I was meeting with our elected leaders is this is an issue anyone can support. It is a bipartisan issue. In fact, the Endangered Species Act is overwhelmingly supported by the public. It’s favored by 90% of voters because it’s been so effective in preserving wildlife. Despite its success, special interests have placed the ESA under peril.
This is an issue that affects us right here at home. Currently, there are more than 1,300 endangered or threatened species in the United States. Recently, grizzly bears in Yellowstone Park were de-listed from the ESA. And this week’s reversal in Alaska places bears in greater peril along with wolves and caribou.
Of the more than 1,600 species listed on the act, only 1,100 have an active recovery plan.
In the name of preserving diverse habitat and wildlife for future generations, I urge you to contact your senators and let them know that you support keeping wildlife legislation intact.
I would like to thank Senators Donnelly and Young and Congresswoman Brooks and their staffs for taking the time to hear us about this important topic. And a special thank you to the team at Defenders of Wildlife and the Hoosier Environmental Council for their help in making our voices heard.
Curt Vander Meer
CEO, Endangered Species Chocolate