Protect Endangered Species: Oppose HB5293 (Costello)
A bill has been introduced into the Illinois state legislature that threatens to weaken the expert composition of the Illinois Endangered Species Protection Board by allocating two of the nine seats on the Governor appointed Board to special interest groups. The bill also eliminates certain requirements for permits, notice, and public hearings.
The Illinois Endangered Species Protection Board has protected plants and animals in the state since 1972 with a Board that is required by law to base its decisions on scientific evidence.
The proposed bill would allocate two seats on the Board to farm organization representatives who could promote agricultural interests rather than relying on scientifically based information to determine which species are at risk of being lost from the state. This conflict of interest would be detrimental to protecting species of plants and animals in Illinois.
- This would create a bad precedent, allowing other special interest groups to legislatively seek seats on the Board in the future.
- The Act creating the Board is very clear that the Board’s decisions relative to listing need to be based on “scientific evidence” (520 ILCS 10/7), and identifying Board members based on special interests and not scientific expertise weakens the integrity of the Illinois list of endangered and threatened species.
- The bill also eliminates the state’s ability to ensure that federal agreements adequately protect species within the state by forcing the state to accept the terms of such agreements without review.
- The bill also alters public notice requirements when a species is added to the Illinois Endangered Species list. These changes could delay the listing of federally endangered species in Illinois.
The bill is opposed by the Illinois Environmental Council, The Nature Conservancy, Openlands, Bird Conservation Network, and several other conservation organizations.
If you are concerned about these changes you should contact your state legislators and let them know you oppose this bill.