Center for Biological Diversity

Don't Let Obama Shut Out Endangered Species

cactus ferruginous pygmy owl
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Right now, the Obama administration is accepting comments on a draft policy interpreting the phrase "significant portion of its range" (SPOIR), which specifies that if a species is at risk of extinction in any significant portion of range, it shall be protected.

This provision has played a key role in the recovery of the bald eagle, grizzly bear and many other iconic wildlife species, ensuring that animals and plants receive protection before they're past the point of saving by providing protection to
species in important parts of their home ranges.

The draft policy would limit species protection in two ways. First, it proposes that a portion of range would only be considered significant if loss of the species from that portion would threaten the species as a whole. This amounts to a regulatory sleight-of-hand that would effectively eliminate the SPOIR provision by making it largely synonymous with a species being at risk in all of its range.

Second, the policy says historic range will not be considered when determining whether a species is endangered in a significant portion of range. In effect, this calls for turning a blind eye to past losses of species, providing a perverse incentive to delay determinations of species' status, so that they may go extinct in various portions of their range, which would then, in turn, no longer be considered for protection.

Please tell the Obama administration to scrap this disastrous policy proposal and develop one that will truly protect species when they are at risk in significant portions of range.

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Please take action by March 8, 2012.

Photo of cactus ferruginous pgymy owl (c) Bob Miles.

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