Thursday, December 16, 2004
LOS ANGELES - Opponents of the Endangered
Species Act (search)
say the federal legislation protecting the
sucker fish, the spotted owl and hundreds of
other animals on the watch list has crippled
industries and ravaged local economies.
Now, for the first time in decades, these foes
see an opportunity for change with a poll
showing that up to 80 percent of the public
would be willing to consider changes to the
landmark environmental law.
"What we are trying to do is change the act so
it doesn't have the conflicts with private
property owners and at the same time does a
better job at recovering species than we are
currently doing," said Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Calif.
The political fight is well under way, with
conservatives lobbying the Western Governor's
Association for support. But at least one
Western governor doesn't agree with the
proposed changes the way they're currently
"The country wants protection of the
environment and the Endangered Species Act,
and I believe Congressman Pombo's initiative,
while well intentioned, goes too far," said
of New Mexico, a Democrat.
Richardson supports modest revisions of the
law. Environmentalists are against any changes
to the act because they fear opponents will
gut the policy in favor of urban sprawl and