Walden's press conference in
Klamath Falls regarding the ESA Bill HR 3824
by KBC News 9/20/05, with
words from Congressman Greg Walden,
Klamath Water Users Association Executive Director
Greg Addington, Klamath County Commissioner John
Elliott, Klamath District Attorney Ed Caleb, former
State Senator Steve Harper, regarding the House
Committee on Resources bill TESRA, HR3824, to
improve the Endangered Species Act. These were from
questions and answers and also from interviews with
KBC News yesterday at Walden's press conference at
the Klamath County Courthouse.
The following press release provides the
substance of Congressman Greg Walden's speech on
the Klamath Falls courthouse steps September 19,
PRESS RELEASE: Walden Backs
Bipartisan ESA Modernization Measure, Says "32-Year-Old Law Needs Fixing"
TESRA fixes the
long-outstanding problems of the Endangered Species
Act (ESA) by
(1) focusing on
(2) providing incentives
(3) increasing openness and accountability
(4) strengthening scientific standards
(5) creating bigger roles for state and local
(6) protecting private property owners and
(7) eliminating dysfunctional critical habitat
Congressman Greg Walden: statements or
answers to questions after his speech, unveiling the
ESA improvement plan to the Klamath Basin:
Q: How different is this bill from other efforts to
reform the ESA?
A: "This puts a standard, a foundation, under all
decisions by establishing a scientific criteria that
applies everywhere when the ESA is being used for
whatever purpose. And it requires The Secretary to
establish by rule the criteria for that science to
determine what's best....you don't need a bunch of
politicians telling the scientists how to determine
what science is"
Being listed under the Endangered Species Act "is
like the Eagle's song 'Hotel California;' you can
get in and you can't get out."
Resulting from lawsuits, "Fish and Wildlife have
designated huge swaths of land as critical habitat
before they've ever written a recovery plan."
Q: How will this bill benefit species and improve
A: In 2001, here they found after the NAS peer
review, decisions weren't based on best available
science and probably shouldn't have been made.
We know what they did to the farmers. We also know
that if you dump warm water into the Klamath River
at the wrong time and the wrong amount, you run the
risk of killing the very fish you're supposed to be
helping. And the same with lake levels on the
lake. What this (bill) does is say we're going to
get to the best science before the decisions..."
"Sound science means better decisions and better
recovery for the species." "It (the bill) will allow
farmers to do conservation projects on their
property and have certainty for water."
"This will build cooperation where it doesn't exist
today and will build certainty where it doesn't
"It provides compensation where there is a loss,
that doesn't exist today"
"You get better scientific data in place that's
reliable that you can count on that's not their
"There will be sound science under every decision;
that takes the politics out of a lot of the
decisions. Administrations come and go."
There will be programs for private land owners,
incentives on private property. Species don't know
the difference between private and public land.
Q: What's wrong with the ESA?
A: The law the way it is isn't working. "If you're
going to build a highway through somebody's ranch,
you got compensated for it. This is the
Highway of the ESA and you get told to just take
Q: How much opposition do you expect?
A: There were news releases issued against issues
before the final bill was out
Q: Why did it take 30 years to reform the ESA?
A: There are groups out there who frankly want no
change because they like to lock things up and they
don't like to solve problems."
There are less people in the West with less
representation per area, so the ESA "applies in the
West more than in the East...and in rural areas more
than the urban areas."
KBC interview with Klamath County Commissioner
"It's a great day and it's long overdue...I
remember getting a call from Senator Hatfield in
2001 saying the way the ESA was utilized was not the
intention of the legislation. So this is maybe
a step back in the way it was really intended to
work, and that was to protect the endangered species
and not to force people off their lands."
KBC statement from Greg Addington, Klamath Water
Users Executive Director
This is very good news...it means alot with
legislation of this magnatude he (Walden) would come
here and unveil it at a place that's obviously very
near and dear to him as well." We'll be working with
Congress to see how we can help.
Klamath District Attorney Ed Caleb:
Walden is absolutely right; if you're going to have
an act that purports to save species from be extinct
or even close to being extinct, you have to make
sure you have the right data before you do it or you
can't make those types of decisions. Before you
based (decisions) on the politics of it or who can
get to the courthouse first.. You need to have the
correct data and we need to have some sort of
balancing when human lives are involved.
Everybody wants to protect endangered species
and we need to have the right science available.
That's what I heard today."