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Entries in Center for Biological Diversity (2)

Monday
Jul152013

House Group Looks to Stop Abuses of Endangered Species Act

Photo by Robert Montgomery

Arguably the bald eagle, our national emblem, would be extinct if not for the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The legislation also has helped with recovery of the wolf and alligator, as well as lesser known species.

But critics charge that it also is being abused by environmental groups that want to force the federal government to spend billions of dollars restricting use of both public and private lands and waters.

As a consequence, the U.S. House of Representatives has formed an Endangered Species Act Working Group. Throughout the coming year, the group will sponsor events, forums, and hearings on how well the act is working, how it could be updated, and how to boost its effectiveness.

“We should be good stewards of the planet God gave us and its inhabitants,” said Oklahoma Rep. James Lankford. “But federal laws protecting dwindling animal populations should be crafted to actually access the problems they intend to solve. Current law, including the ESA, is outdated and does more to protect paperwork than animals.”

As an example of the paperwork problem, the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) petitioned the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) late last summer to protect 53 new species of amphibians and reptiles. This followed closely on a 2011 settlement between the Interior Department, CBD, and WildEarth Guardians that covered 779 species in 85 lawsuits and legal actions. In exchange for FWS taking action on those species during the next seven years, the two groups agreed to limit lawsuits so that efforts could be focused on accomplishing the terms of the agreement.

This second petition does not directly violate the terms of the settlement, but it does divert money and resources away from species recovery and disregards the spirit of the settlement by adding to the agency’s backlog of petitions.

“Time and gain, CBD and other similar groups have undermined the goal of the ESA by litigating, obstructing, and frustrating the FWS while racking up hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer-funded attorney fees that continue to feed their litigious strategies to the detriment of species and people,” the House Committee on Natural Resources said in a statement.

As an example of the cost of implementing the ESA as it currently is enforced, FWS estimates that restoring habitat for two species of mussels--- the Neosho mucket and the rabbitsfoot--- will cost between $4.4 and $5.9 million during the next 20 years. And it  admits that  “the majority of these costs are administrative.”

“I believe that we all support the goal of wanting to preserve, protect, and recover key domestic species,” said Committee Chairman Doc Hastings. “Forty years after it was signed into law, and 25 years since it was last renewed by Congress, I hope there can also be recognition that there are ways this law can be improved and made to work better for both people and species.”

(This article appeared originally in B.A.S.S. Times.)

Thursday
Feb162012

EPA Sides With Anglers in War Against Fishing

Wind turbines are far more dangerous to birds than is lead fishing tackle.

On the freshwater front, anglers have won another battle in the war against fishing. For the second time in little more than a year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has denied a petition to ban lead fishing tackle nationally.

But the Center for Biological Diversity and its anti-angling allies won’t stop. Right now, they’re challenging EPA’s denial of their first petition and, in New Hampshire, they’re trying to expand restrictions already in place for state waters.

Most common argument for a ban is that populations of loons and other waterfowl are being diminished because the birds ingest the lead. But no scientific study supports that assertion.  Fatalities occur, but they are infrequent.

By contrast, wind mills kill hundreds of thousands of birds, including eagles and other raptors, annually --- a fact that some green groups choose to ignore as they wage war against sport fishing.

From the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation:

Science has prevailed. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has denied a petition by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD)—an anti-sportsmen group—that would have precipitated significant restrictions on lead fishing tackle all over the United States.

The CBD wanted the EPA to use the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to heavily regulate anglers from using tackle they have long used even though science doesn’t support such a measure. The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) has been, and will continue to, fight such unscientific lead bans and restrictions at the state and federal level.

And Keep America Fishing added this:

Listening to the voices of thousands of activist anglers, on February 14, 2012, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) once again rejected the most recent petition to federally ban lead fishing tackle under the Toxic Substances Control Act. KeepAmericaFishing™ thanks everyone who took action on this important issue.