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Issue Alert from Winningreen A052505
Democrats and environmentalists express support for Pombo-style ESA reform
By Tom Randall
Date: May 25, 2005
Issue: While most Democrats and environmentalists would recoil like Dracula before sunlight if you suggested they agreed with U.S. House Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo (R-CA) on the need for updating and modernizing the 31-year-old Endangered Species Act (ESA), that is precisely what many are doing. Many have even expressed recognition of the importance of providing landowners with compensation and incentives under the Act. Here is what we have heard and read:
Hillary Rodham Clinton: In a May 19 hearing before the Senate Fisheries, Wildlife and Water Subcommittee, she said incentives would make private efforts to recover species more attractive and that ESA should be made less cumbersome and more flexible.
John F. Kostyack, National Wildlife Federation: Speaking before the same hearing, he said: "...agencies are typically not in the position to carry out many of the actions that are needed to bring about recovery. A solution to this problem would be for agencies to be required to develop and implement Recovery Implementation Plans..."
"According to the GAO, roughly 80 percent of all listed species have at least some of their habitat on non-federal land..." "[We should] provide incentives for private landowners to contribute to recovery."
"In return for conservation agreements...Congress should defer indefinitely federal estate taxes or provide immediate income tax credits for expenses incurred."
Carl Rowan, Environmental Defense: In emphasizing that in the future we will see recovery "more through the efforts of regular Americans than through any new restrictions," he said, "If the eagle is a symbol of our conservation past, the landowner is the symbol of our conservation future."
Comment: To be sure, those who are striving for significant updating and modernization of the Endangered Species Act are not going to find total agreement with Democrats and environmentalists — indeed, some of their comments may be nothing more than lip service. However, it is important to note that the discussion is shifting in our direction and we should work to build on stated areas of agreement.
Contact: Tom Randall
3712 N. Broadway – PMB 279
Chicago, IL 60613
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