Target: Gina McCarthy, EPA Administrator
Goal: Stop destruction of monarch butterfly habitat and protect native grasslands.
Monarch butterflies are in danger of losing precious habitat. Each year, hundreds of acres of native grasslands are destroyed to make way for biofuel crop production. Important pollinators like the monarch are supposed to be protected from this type of development, but the EPA has largely neglected to enforce these rules. We must act now to ensure native grasslands persist in order to save the monarch butterfly and other imperiled species.
Monarch populations have plummeted severely in the last few years. These declines can be attributed to a patchwork of causes including increased herbicide use and temperature fluctuations. Still, the biggest threat to monarchs is likely habitat loss. Vast swaths of native prairies have been, and continue to be, cleared for crops such as corn used for ethanol production. Replacing these grasslands with monoculture agriculture dramatically changes the landscape, destroying species diversity and making it impossible for native wildlife to persist. Monarch butterflies are known for their close relationship to milkweed, the plant they require to reproduce. As grasslands are destroyed, milkweed and other important plants disappear, and the species that depend on them begin to as well.
A federal program already in place contains provisions to protect these important native lands. Despite this, the EPA has chosen to allow grasslands to continue to be destroyed. Their action could stop thousands of acres of native grassland from becoming biofuel crop fields. Urge the EPA to enforce protections for pollinators like the monarch butterfly and save native grasslands.
Dear Administrator McCarthy,
I’m writing you to express concern over increased threats to monarch butterfly habitat. Every year, thousands of acres of native grassland are plowed to make way for crops. Many of these fields are being used for biolfuel production. However, under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program, untilled lands are supposed to be protected from conversion to cropland for the sake of biofuels. These provisions are in place to protect important pollinators like the monarch butterfly and other wildlife species that depend on native grasslands.
Monarchs and other prairie-dependent species are experiencing sharp population declines due to habitat loss. It is more important now than ever that we protect native lands. Yet, the EPA has repeatedly failed to enforce these protections, allowing important native habitats to be destroyed and monarchs to become further imperiled. Monocultures like the ones used to grow corn for ethanol irreversibly change landscapes and push native species out. By using laws already in place, the EPA could preserve thousands of acres of land for butterflies and countless other wildlife species. I am urging you to please enforce the provisions of the RFS and protect what native grasslands we have left.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Tony Hisgett