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The #EndangeredSpeciesAct “attacks property owners,” @Heritage’s Daren Bakst says, “when the best approach would be to recognize that property owners are integral to preserving species.” via @KevinMooneyDC @DailySignal
@Heritage @KevinMooneyDC @DailySignal The current law has resulted in a recovery rate of only 3% for the wildlife it was designed to protect, according to the Congressional Western Caucus, which counts 72 members of both parties from 32 states and territories.
@Heritage @KevinMooneyDC @DailySignal Tipton pointed to efforts in Colorado to preserve the sage grouse, a chicken-like bird species, as an example of successful wildlife protection done locally. He said his state’s pilot program involving ranchers and farmers helped to rehabilitate the species.
@Heritage @KevinMooneyDC @DailySignal “We were seeing the sage grouse numbers go up and growing,” Tipton said. “This ought to be our goal, not [to] have them listed [as endangered] in perpetuity.”
@Heritage @KevinMooneyDC @DailySignal Rep. Ken Calvert, R-Calif., appeared to speak for many participants when he told fellow Western Caucus members that “we need to get the Endangered Species Act out of the courtroom and empower the agencies administering the law to follow the science and do their jobs.”
@Heritage @KevinMooneyDC @DailySignal The California Republican also said “powerful special interests are invested in the status quo,” but the status quo “is not working for people or for listed species.”
@Heritage @KevinMooneyDC @DailySignal Calvert cited figures showing that 2,300 species have been listed as endangered or threatened, while only 72 species have been taken off the list.
@Heritage @KevinMooneyDC @DailySignal In 2012, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found that 1,500 acres in Louisiana should be designated as critical habitat for a species known as the dusky gopher frog, Bakst said, citing one example.
@Heritage @KevinMooneyDC @DailySignal Just one problem, he said: The frog had not been seen in Louisiana for more than 50 years. But because of the “critical habitat” designation, the federal government sought to impose a ban on development that would deprive property owners of more than $30 million in value,
@Heritage @KevinMooneyDC @DailySignal “So, what was the point of this effort?” Bakst asked. “It didn’t serve the interests of the dusky gopher frog, but there are plenty of losers in this effort, including the property owners plus other threatened and endangered species.”
@Heritage @KevinMooneyDC @DailySignal “One, the Endangered Species Act doesn’t focus resources where they can be most effective,” he said. “And, two, the law attacks property owners, when the best approach would be to recognize that property owners are integral to preserving species.”
@Heritage @KevinMooneyDC @DailySignal “While the administration is committed to protecting threatened or endangered species, that should not be an excuse to hold up a project, to hold up decisions, to hold up ideas, and to hold up things that may actually help species,” Budd-Falen said.
@Heritage @KevinMooneyDC @DailySignal “So, we are trying to have specific time frames and keep activities to those time frames. The Department of Interior is not yet done with regulatory changes.”
@Heritage @KevinMooneyDC @DailySignal In August, the Trump administration rolled out a new set of rules that officials said were designed to improve implementation of the Endangered Species Act
@Heritage @KevinMooneyDC @DailySignal The new rules clarify the distinction between “threatened” and “endangered” species, and set higher standards for unoccupied areas to be designated as critical habitat.
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