Skip to comments.CA: Lawmakers announce new push to change Endangered Species Act
Posted on 02/10/2005 5:32:49 PM PST by NormsRevenge
WASHINGTON (AP) - Four leading GOP House members and senators announced a joint effort Thursday to rewrite the Endangered Species Act to toughen up habitat and scientific provisions. Environmentalists immediately criticized the plan as the latest attempt to gut the landmark law.
The lawmakers said it was the first time members of the House and Senate had banded together at the beginning of a congressional session to amend the 1973 act. Previous attempts to change the law have failed, but they said this time they hoped to produce a single Endangered Species Act reauthorization bill that could be introduced in both chambers.
"We've been working on this issue for a long time," said House Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo, R-Calif. "And to have the opportunity now to sit down and work across the capital and try to come up with legislation that does move the ball forward and begins to modernize and update the Endangered Species Act is extremely important."
Joining Pombo were Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore.; Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho; and Sen. Lincoln Chafee, R-R.I. Chafee, among the Senate's most moderate Republicans, is a newcomer to the issue who chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee's subcommittee on fisheries, wildlife and water.
The lawmakers said they had no specific legislative language yet, but listed goals including increased involvement by states, more incentives for private landowners, and strengthening scientific reviews before species are listed or critical habitat is designated.
They contended the law now creates unreasonable regulatory hurdles for property owners while failing to help many species.
"Overall we believe that the Endangered Species Act can be less contentious and more effective," Crapo said.
But environmentalists said the act works as written.
"For 30 years the Endangered Species Act has been serving as a safety net for species on the brink of extinction, and there can be absolutely no doubt the act is working, and it's one of the most popular laws in the land," said Susan Holmes, senior legislative representative at Earthjustice.
"I think if you look at the efforts that we have seen so far from U.S. Rep. Pombo, from Greg Walden, these efforts have been all-out attacks on the Endangered Species Act," Holmes said.
Pombo's committee passed two bills last year to amend the law. One would have changed how critical habitat is designated by requiring that such a designation be "practicable." The other, written by Walden, would have created a peer review board, chosen by the interior secretary, to vet scientific information on a species before it could be listed as endangered.
Neither bill got a vote on the House floor, and earlier attempts to amend the law also went nowhere, including a 1997 effort that cleared a Senate committee. Chafee said that bill, which would have given private landowners incentives to help preserve species, would be a good starting point this time around.
Although President Bush has handed Congress a busy agenda to work on over the next two years, and some in Congress may not be eager to take on a controversial fight over the Endangered Species Act, the lawmakers said Thursday they thought they could get it done.
"If we come together I guarantee you we'll get the floor time," Walden said.
More than 1,800 plants and animals are now listed as threatened or endangered. The Fish and Wildlife Service says about 40 have been taken off the list over the years - fewer than half of those because they recovered, and the others because they went extinct or for technical reasons.
There have been about 120 fish spicies listed as threatened or endangered since 1973.The number that have been 'recovered' by the protection offered by the ESA is:
Zip Zero Nada.
It's broken and harms the critters listed. I'd say kill it.
Don't even know how to spel spces.
Hmmm... Not a good week for the bunny huggers. First they fail to get lead ammo banned to protect the soon-to-be-extinct California Condor, and now this.
Kill it along with it the Marine Mammals Act and the Migratory Bird Act. These two are even crazier.
did the lead ammo thing fail? ......I never heard the outcome though I knew it was some emergency hearing.....I hope it did cause I was arguing on FR the other day with some guy who was fearing this and I thought that it wouldn't fly........
The greenies only got one vote. (The 13th OJ juror?) Of course, they're now threatening to sue.
good thing........they already screwed around with shotshells, glad this didn't even muster a miniscule vote
You know, I love critters, am an avid bird watcher and nature lover, but Jeeze Louise. It's taken Congress 32 YEARS to even attempt to alter this act?
Yeah, we'll have poverty and hunger under control within weeks. *Rolleyes*
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