Your Name
Address
City, State, Zip

Date
The Honorable NAME HERE
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Representative NAME HERE:

As a constituent concerned with conservation, I stand with the National Audubon Society in urging you to oppose H.R.4840, the "Sound Science for Endangered Species Planning Act of 2002." Rather than building on the sound science that goes into listing species, H.R.4840 builds sound obstacles to listing species by hamstringing the processes involved in listing species. H.R.4840 changes the existing listing process by altering the definition of "peer review panel," by expanding the panel to 5, and its members no longer required to go through the intense selection process. This opens the door for special interests to reign at the expense of declining species and their critical habitat.

The bill also places new and inappropriate obstacles on citizens filing petitions for species listings -- the primary way species have been added to the list since enactment of Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1973. The measure would force citizens to provide "clear and convincing" evide nce in support of listing along with their petition - tasks that are currently the responsibility of the government once a petition has been accepted. These tasks should remain the responsibility of the government. And because H.R.4840 does not define "clear and convincing" evidence, the government can easily dismiss the petition and its science as not "clear and convincing." This shift in responsibility will delay all future listings, mean even lengthier litigation, and will place a huge financial obstacle in the path of citizen petitioners (the general public) which will force many to abandon their efforts - and all at the expense of species on the brink of extinction.

The present process of listing species on the Endangered Species List while not perfect, is fair, and there is no need to alter it, unless the goal is to save as many species as possible. That is simply not the case with H.R.4840, which caters to special interests, industries and developers rather than d eclining species. I urge you to oppose H.R.4840. Please let me know where you stand on this issue. Thank you for your time and attention.

Sincerely,

Your Name