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ESA Reform, What does everyone think of this?

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Well-known member
Feb 13, 2005
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north eastern new mexico
The next step is on to the House Floor!!! Vote the polls, call your congressman and ask your friends to do the same!!!

For Immediate Release:
September 22, 2005
Contact: Brian Kennedy at (202) 226-9019

Threatened and Endangered Species Recovery Act of 2005: Approved Overwhelmingly by Committee

Washington, DC - The House Committee on Resources overwhelmingly approved the Threatened and Endangered Species Recovery Act (TESRA) of 2005 today by a bipartisan vote, 26-12.

Background and Need of TESRA

"Having this much bipartisan support coming from the committee sends a very strong signal to the rest of the House," Chairman Pombo said. "Improving this law for the 21st century has become a conservative, liberal and commonsense cause for this Congress. This bill will help turn three decades of conflict into real cooperation for species conservation and recovery."

Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-CA):

"I am co-sponsoring the Endangered Species Recovery Act because I believe the ESA should be enhanced and refocused on its original goal - species recovery. Since the passage of the ESA over 30 years ago, it has been diverted from that goal, and is increasingly driven by litigation, not science. I am confident that this bill will strengthen the ability of ESA to recover species, while reducing the burden on local economies and landowners."

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX):

"It is high time that we act to correct yet another piece of well intentioned legislation that has transformed our environmental policies into a legal nightmare for private landowners. Hopefully, this will reintroduce some sanity to a law that is, by all insightful accounts, broken in its current form. It is also gratifying to have so many Democrats join in with the efforts to make common sense a part of the law. Chairman Pombo deserves a Congressional Medal of Persistence and Patience."

Rep. Cathy McMorris (R-WA):

"Today we took a big step forward in restoring common sense solutions to the ESA and helping our region's economy. This bill will help facilitate the relationship between protecting those species that are truly endangered and using our natural resources and our land. We have seen first hand the impact that the Endangered Species Act has had on our river systems in the Pacific Northwest. This bill will help us move away from litigation, lawsuits and punitive settlements, and allow us to better recover species by providing incentives, employing peer-reviewed standards data based on objective scientific practices, and compensating private property owners for lost use of land."

Rep. George Radanovich (R-CA):

"Today's Committee vote is an important step forward in our bipartisan effort to bring common sense back to the implementation of the Endangered Species Act. This much-needed legislation brings meaningful improvements to the Act by providing for the use of the best available scientific data in all decisions as well as including language that would better protect and recover species in need."

Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR):

"Our over-arching goal with this legislation is to make the law more successfully achieve the goals that were established 32 years ago when it was enacted, and I appreciate the support of the House Resources Committee through their approval today. These modest changes would bring tangible and positive results for the environment and the people we represent through improved scientific requirements in decision making, prioritization of species in need, protection of private property rights, and a streamlined process that will be open and accountable to the public."

Rep. Barbara Cubin (R-WY):

"We need to encourage private property owners to take part in the process. This bill provides incentives to private property owners to come to the table and it will force the federal government to respect the property rights of farmers, ranchers and landowners."

Rep. John Peterson (R-PA):

"I think most reasonable folks can agree that a thorough and careful update of the Act is a good thing, and will go a long way toward ensuring its future viability. I'm glad that after three decades we were finally able to deliver that update - influenced by established science, and guided by basic tenets of commonsense."

Rep. Jim Gibbons (R-NV):

"The current law is simply not working. A less than 1 percent recovery rate is unacceptable, and we can do better. This legislation will foster a more collaborative relationship between landowners, state governments, the federal government, and all other stakeholders to create effective recovery plans based on sound science. This collaborative process is necessary if we are going to truly protect and recover our endangered species."



Graves seeks to change Endangered Species Act

By: Sheri Baker-Rickman, Staff Writer September 22, 2005

Email to a friend Voice your opinion

The Endangered Species Act is a failure according to Rep. Sam Graves, who plans on fixing the legislation.
Graves introduced a bill; H.R. 3300, to add "common sense" changes to the ESA Sept. 14.

"The ESA is simply not working," Graves said.

The ESA, approved in 1973, is designed to prevent extinction of species, in part by protecting habitats.

If passed, Graves' bill will create a voluntary landowner incentive program. Graves said this would improve relationships between landowners and the government while improving species recovery efforts.

Graves' bill explains the duties of the landowner and provides compensation for participation in the incentive program. However, the bill also allows opportunities and options to opt out of the plan and conditions for modifying and terminating a plan.

But David Anderson, chairman of the Thomas Hart Benton Group of the Sierra Club said Graves' plan is flawed.

"Landowners shouldn't be compensated for complying with the Endangered Species Act," Anderson said. "This is like the city paying me to keep my lawn mowed."

Anderson said Graves' plan would make enforcement of the ESA very expensive and could cause the extinction of many species.

Testimony on the bill began Sept. 15, and the Missouri River, home to three listed species - the Piping Plover, Pallid Sturgeon and Least Tern - was addressed.

"We take issue with the manner in which the Endangered Species Act is being applied in the management of the Missouri River," said Mike Wells, chief of Water Resources for the state of Missouri. He said he believed there is a way to protect species without harming citizens who live and farm along the river.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has listed the piping plover as a threatened species in Missouri and endangered in other states. It makes its home along the Missouri River and destruction of its breeding sites has contributed to the species decline.

"I'm more concerned about the rights of landowners than the Piping Plover," said Graves. "By working with, instead of against landowners, we can save more species."

"I am more concerned about the overall good for future generations than the immediate interests of landowners today," said Anderson.

He said he is not insensitive to landowners' issues but believes preventing the extinction of species is a larger interest of society.

Although Graves said he wants to work to save species, he may have a hard time convincing environmentalists.

The League of Conservation Voters, a political group dedicated to "shaping a pro-environment Congress and White House," lists Graves as "anti-environment" and rated him a score of 10 percent. Dividing the number of pro-environment votes cast by Graves by the total number of votes scored derives his score.

The key to Endangered Species Act (ESA) Reform is public opinion... we need to demonstrate that "the public" wants reform... vote early and vote often!

*Note there are NOW 2 ESA polls in Chairman Pombo's District papers, please make sure you've voted in both!*

Stockton Record Online Poll: http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/frontpage

Contra Costa Times Online Poll: http://www.contracostatimes.com/

Does anyone think that this has a chance of passing?

This should have happened a long time ago.

The Endangered Species Act would have been more appropriately named the Disincentives for Wildlife Act due to it's misuse and abuse.


All the time certain organizations spend blaming packers, imports, USDA, NCBA, etc. etc., here is something they could support that has the potential to have a much greater impact on their lives than packer profit margins or costly, unenforceable, country of origin labels that differentiate a sliver of foreign beef to the benefit of foreign beef at the cost of labeling all beef.

Amen, SH.

I have never posted on this forum before, but this thread deserves a response.

Congress is moving at lightning-fast speed to consider this bill. This is no accident. This is an effort which has been years in the making, and is just now seeing the light of day.

Pombo and a number of other Congressional Representatives have realized that now may be our best chance ever to acheive some ESA reform, and are striking while the iron is hot with a bill that makes modest, common-sense reforms and was authored in a bipartisan manner.

It amazes me that some ranchers will spend hours on this forum and elsewhere griping about NCBA, R-CALF or whatever the issue of the day is, but won't take ten minutes to contact their Congressional Represenative and Senators about an issue as critical as this one.

Every cattle producer has an obligation to make their voice heard on this issue. I can tell you that state cattlemen's associations and farm bureaus (especially in key states like TX and CA) have long been waiting for this moment, and have been working this issue HARD in the past few days. They can't do it alone though.

Even if your Congressional Representative supports this bill, give them a call and let them know you appreciate their support. Then call your Senators - doesn't matter how liberal or conservative they are. The Senate is where this battle will ultimately be won or lost, and we need to energize our supporters and get the fence-riders on our side.

I e-mailed all my state Reps and both Senators. The Senators' was prolly a waste of time. I KNOW they'll be voting for it..

Nevertheless, I did my civic duty today!
Good job Mike. Alabama is very much a state which is in play. Reps. Cramer and Davis, especially, need to hear from folks back home.
BLH said:
Good job Mike. Alabama is very much a state which is in play. Reps. Cramer and Davis, especially, need to hear from folks back home.

Thanks, I'll leave it up to you to work on the illustrious Ms. Pelosi. Good luck.
I found this interesting article yesterday:

Pombo's ESA Bill Will Protect Property Owners
Respecting People's Rights Will Also Help Protect Wildlife
by Jody Clarke
September 20, 2005

Washington, DC, September 20, 2005—The Competitive Enterprise Institute strongly supports provisions to improve protection of Americans' constitutional right to property contained in the U.S. House bill (H.R. 3824) to re-authorize the Endangered Species Act. The bill was introduced by Representative Richard Pombo (R-CA), Chairman of the House Resources Committee.

"We congratulate Chairman Pombo for his strong leadership and commitment to stop property rights abuses by the ESA and for the innovative approach he has proposed to accomplish this vital goal," said Myron Ebell, director of international environmental policy at CEI and a longtime property rights activist and supporter of ESA reform.

"The ESA threatens the constitutional rights of all Americans and has violated the rights of countless thousands of landowners. It penalizes people for being good stewards and thereby creates perverse incentives for property owners to do everything they can not to have habitat for endangered species on their land," Ebell continued. "That's why we think respecting people's property rights will also make the ESA much more effective in protecting endangered species."

One important proposed change would set definite time limits on how long the federal government can delay making decisions on whether landowners will be allowed to use their land. "That would stop endless delays by regulators and give these owners a clear right to compensation for rightful uses that are prevented by the ESA, thus lifting them out of the legal morass that currently governs regulatory takings," explained Sam Kazman, CEI's General Counsel. "For these reasons, the bill would greatly advance the protection of private property rights."

Liberty Belle,

I recently witnessed the epitomy of government hypocrisy.

Did you know that the government is dusting for fleas in certain areas to stop the potential spread of plague into the pr. dogs?

Now think about that!

If the ranchers were dusting to kill pr. dogs, they would be slapped with an environmental impact statement so quick it would make your head spin yet the federal government can come in and spread flea dust with no consideration for any impact on the environment to save their stupid pr. dogs and ferrets.

Wonder what affect this powder has on the countless threatened and endangered species used in arguments to stop pr. dog poisoning? Where is the concern for NEPA compliance now?

I would love to see SD ag organizations demand an environmental impact statement and fight fire with fire.


I would love to see the cattlemen get the last laugh on this.

"Ooops, sorry, it's too bad all those pr. dogs had to die but we certainly can't be threatening the environment with flea dust now can we?"

With this said, I do realize the potential human health and safety hazards with plague. There is no denying that concern but the hypocrisy of little to no consideration for any environmental hazards relating to flea dust, considering the historic abuse of the ESA regarding private property rights, as Grandpappy in the movie "Son in Law" says, really "tweaks my melon". LOL!

Hope you can have some fun with this.

SH - I sat in on the prairie dog meeting at the Stockgrowers convention last week and heard a little about this but no one seemed to know any hard-and-fast details. I'd sure like to find out more about this asinine scheme.

Have you read any articles about this or know where we could obtain some documentation? This has got to be one of the most stupid things the feds have done in a while, although I realize their list of stupid stunts is a long one. Your environmental impact statement is a great idea. And what about NEPA? Can the feds ignore their own regulations?

The surest way to get rid of the plague would be to get rid of the rodents that carry it, much like they stopped the "black death" in Europe when they started killing the rats that spread the plague. If plague is allowed to run it's course in the dog towns no human is going to contract the plague unless they come in contact with the prairie dogs themselves.

You wouldn't know where we could find a couple plague infested rodents, would you?
LB: "The surest way to get rid of the plague would be to get rid of the rodents that carry it......"


I don't have any details on this but I believe it was supposed to take place or taking place in Shannon Co.

Great points on important issues. Pombo has long worked very well with/for the cattle industry. Would that all our W, DC Congressmen served ranchers and the environment as well!

While everyone is contacting their "public servants" in Washington, DC, please also tell them what a devastating environmental disaster it will become if the law to prevent harvesting horses for food prevails. Just imagine if no horse can be sold to a slaughter plant. Who will provide the pastures for all those "pet" and retired "sport" horses? Horses can and do live to a very old age and the numbers of horses in the USA are already very high. This is purely an emotion based issue and those most usually serve no one well.

While I believe the only real solution to the problems caused by the ESA is total abolishment of the act, Pompo's bill is a step in the right direction.

Do you suppose many people realize how much the ESA impacts our energy costs, land costs, the cost of food production, leasing, taxes, etc.?

Changes to Endangered Species Act could remove roadblocks to energy development

Sunday, September 25, 2005
The Daily Sentinel

As a sweeping rewrite of the Endangered Species Act makes its way to the House floor as early as this week, some environmentalists are fearful the legislation could further Colorado's already booming oil and gas industry.

"Oil and gas companies have already gotten the go-ahead from this administration to drill as much as possible," said Jacob Smith, executive director for the Center for Native Ecosystems in Denver. "This bill would eliminate environmental protections and further remove the public from having a say on what happens on our public lands."

According to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the federal agency that handles the leasing of mineral rights on public lands, 21,157 acres have been withheld from oil and gas development this year because of the presence of sensitive species.
The acreage is roughly 10 percent of the total parcels that were sold at lease auctions statewide this year.

"Those parcels were nominated by industry, but they never made it to auction because of endangered species-related issues," said Mel Lloyd, a spokeswoman for the Bureau.

The Threatened and Endangered Species Recovery Act of 2005 was approved by committee Thursday in a 26 to 12 vote and could, some say, change the ability of environmental groups and biologists from halting oil and gas development in critical habitat for sensitive species.
Supporters of the act, led by author and House Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo, R-Calif., said it would make the Endangered Species Act more effective.

Critics called the legislation counter to the purpose of the 32-year-old law meant to keep species from extinction.

"This legislation opens loopholes that allow big special interests to cast aside one of our country's most successful environmental laws," said Justin Tatham, advocate for the U.S. Public Interest Research Group.
Pombo said only 15 of 1,830 threatened and endangered species have been taken off the list, a testament to the current Endangered Species Act's failure as legislation.

One of the biggest changes included in Pombo's measure would create exemptions for consultation processes between federal agencies.
Under current law, the Bureau of Land Management must consult with the Fish and Wildlife Service before undertaking any activities that may harm endangered or threatened species.

"We currently consult with the BLM at several planning levels," said Al Pfister, Western Colorado field supervisor for the Fish and Wildlife Service in Grand Junction. "Once the BLM gets the specifics of a proposed lease parcel, we'll say 'OK, these are the specifics for how this should be done.' "

The measure would also allow the interior secretary to make decisions on scientific standards for declaring a species threatened or endangered, rather than relying strictly on biologists and scientists.

Critics said that would politicize the act's enforcement, making it difficult to block environmentally damaging projects or add to the list of 1,370 plants and animals considered threatened or endangered.

There are currently 32 species listed as threatened or endangered in Colorado, and 12 are awaiting listing as candidate species.

While seven parcels were withheld by the BLM from auction this year because of lynx, a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, 17 were held for species that were listed as "candidates."

Candidate species are plants and animals the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has deemed scientifically worthy of listing as endangered or threatened, but higher priority activities have kept formal listing from happening, according to the Fish and Wildlife Service's Web site.

The Gunnison sage grouse is responsible for the withholding of 16 parcels from lease auction in Colorado this year, but the chicken-sized bird is a candidate species, with the Service predicting a final listing decision by September 2006.

"It's our policy to not take actions on sensitive species that would assist them to becoming endangered," said Duane Spencer, Bureau of Land Management branch chief of fluid minerals. "We won't lease right now where land is occupied by Gunnison sage grouse until we make sure we have the adequate stipulations that may need to be in place."

Environmentalists such as Smith say without the Endangered Species Act in its current form, the Bureau of Land Management and other federal agencies would have little incentive to deal with candidate species such as the grouse.

"If you change the act the way this bill does, it's going to be difficult to ever get the Gunnison sage grouse on the list. Then the BLM has a whole lot less incentive to do anything and can just let the oil and gas companies have their way," Smith said.

Susie Manicom, a spokeswoman for Williams Production, said her company often dealt with the hurdles endangered species presented to natural gas companies operating in western Colorado.

The company has worked to relocate roads and pipelines and coordinate drilling schedules around wildlife habitat to comply with requirements, she said.

"While protections for habitat are an important part of responsible development, it's also important to note the high demand and increased prices of natural gas," she said. "It's important we develop land while also protecting the environment."

Manicom said Williams had yet to form an opinion on the proposed reforms to the act.

Officials with EnCana Oil and Gas (USA) Inc., another company operating on the Western Slope, said they supported any change to the act that shifted the focus from "conflict and litigation to efforts at real conservation."

"Regardless of the outcome, we'll continue to work with regulators to ensure these species are protected," said Doug Hock, director of public and community relations.

Sally Spaulding can be reached via e-mail at [email protected].