Graves Amendment Designates Cajuns as Endangered Species
Washington, DC – Congressman Garret Graves (R-South Louisiana) offered legislation during a House Natural Resources Committee markup that would designate Cajuns as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA), a federal law that provides for the conservation of species that are endangered or threatened throughout all or a significant portion of their range, and the conservation of the ecosystems on which they depend.
Graves explained: “Right now the federal government is managing the Mississippi River system in a way that is causing the greatest coastal wetlands loss on the North American continent. We’ve lost approximately 2,000 square miles of our coast. It is the federal government’s actions causing this land loss, and it’s been happening over the past eighty years. These are coastal wetlands and some of the most productive habitat in the North American continent, and it happens to be where Cajuns primarily live in South Louisiana. We have been trying to aggressively move out a multi-billion restoration and protection plan and now we have the federal government obstructing our efforts. For example, the Corps of Engineers and the National Marine Fisheries Service are telling us that it is going to take five years to get an environmental restoration project approved, while we have nearly a billion dollars just sitting in the bank. If being an endangered species actually affords you additional protection and allows your habitat to be restored then that is what we want. Our habitat is disappearing and I don’t understand why animals get better treatment than people. Our amendment designates Cajuns as an endangered species so we can be afforded those same protections and has the federal government working with us and not against us.”