Representatives Panetta and Carbajal Lead Letter Urging Interior Department To Designate The Monarch Butterfly An Endangered Species

June 29, 2021
Press Release

Today, Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-Carmel Valley) and Congressman Salud Carbajal (D-CA-24) sent a letter with their House colleagues to Interior Secretary Deb Haaland urging her to use her emergency authority under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to save the western monarch butterfly.  Earlier this year, President Biden ordered the Department of Interior to review the previous administration’s decision to delay protections for monarch butterflies until 2024 or later.  Unfortunately, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decided to maintain the status quo, putting the future of this beautiful and iconic species in jeopardy.  The undersigned Members of Congress are calling on Secretary Haaland to reverse course and dedicate every available tool, including the ESA, to preserving the monarch butterfly population before it is too late.

“Although we on the central coast of California have long witnessed the magnificent migration of the western monarch butterflies, barely 2,000 of them returned to their wintering grounds in the past year,” said Rep. Panetta.  “That shockingly low number is exactly why we in the United States Congress are calling on the Department of Interior to immediately provide the necessary federal protections to help prevent the extinction of the monarch butterfly.  The prescriptions of the Endangered Species Act would help the survival and repopulation of this important pollinator and ensure that generations to come also can experience the western monarch butterfly.”

"The Pismo Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove in my district traditionally hosts the largest western monarch overwintering population in California.  When I went to visit recently, there weren’t any monarchs to be found.  The western monarch’s population has dropped by 99% over the last 30 years and, unless we act now, they are on a path to extinction,” said Rep. Carbajal.  “I urge Secretary Haaland to use her authority to designate the monarch butterfly as an endangered species and help us save them from extinction.  We need these beautiful pollinators to keep our planet healthy."

The letter led by Congressman Panetta and Congressman Carbajal to Secretary Haaland was joined by Representatives Ed Case (HI-01), Emanuel Cleaver (MO-05), Steve Cohen (TN-09), Peter DeFazio (OR-04), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), Jerry Nadler (NY-10), Jackie Speier (CA-14), Tom Suozzi (NY-03), Mark Takano (CA-41), Debbie Dingell (MI-12), Juan Vargas (CA-51), and Rashida Tlaib (MI-13).

The letter can be viewed here.