U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, led 15 Senators in a letter to Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Senate Majority Leader. Following this week's passage of S. 2198, the Emergency Drought Relief Act, the Senators note the importance of helping states in need of immediate assistance when those states are impacted by natural disasters. The letter focused on the fact that the specific situation addressed by S. 2198 was made significantly worse because of the Obama Administration's implementation of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), which has resulted in much needed water sources in California being cut off to protect endangered fish at the expense of people and their livelihoods.

"Lawsuits by radical environmental groups have allowed the Obama Administration to prioritize fish over people, cutting off water to farmers and families," wrote the Senators. "Unfortunately, California is not the only state that will face an ESA-related crisis in the coming years. The Obama Administration's decision to enter into sue-and-settle agreements, which requires ESA listing decisions on hundreds of species, guarantees that many of our states will face a similar circumstance in the future."

EPW Republicans have been concerned with the Administration's actions related to the Endangered Species Act and the varying impacts on federal and private lands, the economy, as well as threatened and endangered species. Click here to read an op-ed by Sen. Vitter regarding the Administration's abuse of the ESA that was published on the fortieth anniversary of it becoming law. In addition, Republicans have questioned the process by which the Administration has entered into sue-and-settle agreements that will lead to hundreds of additional species listings and the Administration's attempt to hide the true cost of those actions. Click here to read more.

Signing the letter are Sens. Vitter, John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), James Risch (R-Idaho), Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho).

Click here to read the letter.