GOP endangers species: Aren’t conservatives supposed to conserve? There is no limit to the depravity of the rightwing extremists in the Republican Party’s leadership:
Landowners would get major new rights and the federal government would have a smaller role in protecting plant and animal habitat under a House-passed overhaul of the 1973 Endangered Species Act. But Senate approval is far from assured.“The act has been a failure at recovering species. We have to respond to that and step in and reauthorize the bill, put the focus on recovery and protect private property owners.”
— Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA)
The bill would require payments to property owners if species protection measures foil their development plans, put political appointees in charge of making some scientific determinations and stop the government from designating “critical habitat” for species where development is limited.
The Endangered Species Act, signed into law by President Nixon in 1973, requires the government to ensure its actions don’t jeopardize the survival of 1,268 U.S. species of plants and animals now considered “endangered” or “threatened” by extinction. Those actions can include setting aside habitat for dwindling species that need protected areas to survive and recover; currently, critical habitat has been designated for 466 U.S. species.
The law has helped 16 species — including alligators, deer, falcons and gray whales — recover enough to be removed from the government’s watch list, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Fifteen were removed because the data used to justify government protections were later found faulty; nine were taken off because the species went extinct.
“The act has been a failure at recovering species,” said House Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo, R-Calif., the bill’s author. “We have to respond to that and step in and reauthorize the bill, put the focus on recovery and protect private property owners.”