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 9/29/05 House Resource Committee Press Release:

House Passes Historic Endangered
Species Act Improvement Bill

Threatened and Endangered Species Recovery Act passes by a vote of 229-193


Washington, DC - For the first time in more than a decade, the House of Representatives passed legislation introduced by Chairman Richard W. Pombo (R-CA) and Representative Dennis Cardoza (D-CA) to update and modernize the Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973. The Threatened and Endangered Species Recovery Act (TESRA) of 2005 has more than 96 cosponsors from 30 states across the country.

Born of the best intentions, the ESA has failed to recover endangered species while conflict and litigation have plagued local communities and private property owners alike.

TESRA fixes the long-outstanding problems of the Endangered Species Act by (1) focusing on species recovery (2) providing incentives (3) increasing openness and accountability (4) strengthening scientific standards (5) creating bigger roles for state and local governments (6) protecting private property owners and (7) eliminating dysfunctional critical habitat designations.

"During debate, the entire House of Representatives seemed to agree the ESA is in need of updates and improvements," Chairman Pombo said.  "It's incredible how far we have come.  But what surprised me most today was the strong ideological differences about whether or not homeowners should be compensated when their property is taken, as the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution requires.  Upholding this right and partnering with the landowner is the only way we are going to improve the ESA's failing results for recovery.  This legislation does just that."


Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-CA):  

"I co-sponsored the Endangered Species Recovery Act because I believe the ESA should be enhanced and refocused on its original goal - species recovery. Since the enactment 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 bi-partisan bill will strengthen the ability of ESA to recover species, while reducing the burden on local economies and landowners."

 
Rep. Jim Gibbons (R-NV):

"The current law is simply not working. We all agree with the intentions of the Endangered Species Act, but out of the almost 1,300 species listed over the past 30 years, only 10 have been recovered and de-listed. A less than 1 percent recovery rate is unacceptable. We can and must do better.  Today's bill will enable us to improve the dismal ESA track record with peer-reviewed science and collaborative efforts to protect and recover threatened species."


Rep. Joe Baca (D-CA):

"I am proud to support this common-sense reform legislation that will help communities and protect landowners. We need to update and modernize the Endangered Species Act to strengthen species recovery by building cooperation instead of fostering conflict. Passing the new legislation will remove burdens that have hampered job creation, community development and other improvements for the Inland Empire."


Rep. Cathy McMorris (R-WA):

"After 30 years we finally have a commonsense solution that will facilitate the relationship between protecting endangered species and using our natural resources and land. It is time to move away from burdensome regulations, lawsuits and punitive settlements and focus on using objective scientific standards, creating stronger roles for local and state governments, and increasing accountability."


Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR):

"It's time to make federal agencies charged with administering the law open up the process to the public.  It's time to set standards to make sure the best possible scientific data available are used.  It's time to ensure that states have a direct role in the process.  It's time to reach out to private property owners, protecting their rights while encouraging participation in recovery efforts.  And it's time to make sure that no region of the country ever suffers as the Klamath Basin did."


Rep. Chris Cannon (R-UT):

"For over thirty years the Endangered Species Act has suffered from many fundamental flaws, the most notable being a blatant disregard for property rights. Chairman Pombo's bill recognizes that as long as over 90 percent of endangered species are found on private lands, it defies logic not to compensate landowners' efforts to protect threatened and endangered species. I applaud its passage."


Rep. John Peterson (R-PA):

"This bill represents a real improvement on the current Endangered Species Act, which over the past 30 years has done more to harm the species recovery process than to help it," said Peterson. "I was glad to lend my support to this bill in the House, and I encourage our friends in the Senate to act upon it expeditiously."


Rep. Barbara Cubin (R-WY):

"The ESA has been on the books for more than thirty years, but in that time only ten out of more than a thousand species on the endangered list have been recovered. Instead of protecting threatened and endangered species, the ESA more often just creates litigation and endless bureaucracy. We know for certain that not a single species has ever been saved in a courtroom."


Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA):  

"ESA reform is long overdue. Today, the House enacted significant improvements to the ESA that restores balanced protections to species as well as landowners. This legislation improves and encourages habitat conservation plans by codifying the No Surprises assurance and eliminating unnecessary red-tape that required multiple consultations regarding already approved actions. These important provisions will free up limited government and landowner resources, and ultimately improve conservation of species habitat by encouraging more habitat conservation plans."


Rep. George Radanovich (R-CA):

"I commend my California colleagues, Resources Chairman Richard Pombo and Rep. Dennis Cardoza, for all of their hard work in drafting this crucial bill. I'm a cosponsor of this measure because it will lead to actual recovery of endangered species, improves protections for private property owners and brings commonsense to the ESA."

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