Sunday, August 07, 2011

The Endangered Species Act: Flawed, but vital

Yes, there are horror stories, like the couple who was enjoined from building their dream house because it might spoil the natural view of a pair of nesting bald eagles (not affect them in any other way, just spoil the naturalness of their vistas.) And, on a more troublesome note, the ESA is often a political tool, with listings based more on lobbying and court decisions than on the science. One environmental group files petitions to list over a thousand species last year, which blocks the swamped agency from focusing on the most critical cases. (I don't think the claims of activists relocating endangered species to stop otherwise-approved developments, have ever been proven, but I would not be surprised if it happened, any more than I would be surprised if the claims landowners fearful of government intrusion occasionally shot an endangered specimen and buried it instead of reporting it were to prove true.) But the recent attempts by some Congressional Republicans to block all new species listings went WAY too far in trying to correct government and judicial excesses. Fortunately, 37 House Republicans didn't like the smell of it and joined Democrats in removing the provision.
COMMENT: Conservation, as some of us like to say, IS conservative. We need to improve the way things are done under the ESA, but we need the Act itself. To meet some other Republicans who think as I do. go to www.repamerica,org.

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