Pombo wants Schwarzenegger, other govs to
help change Endangered Species Act
- The California rancher and
congressman whose committee oversees
environmental policy wants to enlist some
home-state muscle in his campaign to rewrite the
Endangered Species Act.
House Resources Committee Chairman Richard
Pombo, R-Calif., said he'll seek backing for his
legislative efforts from Arnold Schwarzenegger
and other Western state governors during a
meeting this weekend of the Western Governors'
"I think that having the governor on board is
critical for a lot of different reasons,
particularly the impact that the act has had on
California, and I think he also helps influence
a lot of people," Pombo said in an interview.
"It's critical to have the governors on board
with any legislative effort that we make," Pombo
Pombo's committee passed bills this year that
would change the 30-year-old act by requiring
peer review before a species can be listed as
endangered and allowing critical habitat to be
designated for species only when "practicable."
Environmentalists said the changes would gut
the landmark law. Pombo and other property
rights supporters said they were needed to
improve a law they contend creates unreasonable
regulatory hurdles for property owners while
failing to help many species.
The Western Governors Association, which has
18 member governors now split between 12
Republicans and six Democrats, has supported
reforming the Endangered Species Act for years.
The group has convened an "Endangered Species
Act Executive Summit" for Friday and Saturday in
"What the governors would say is that the act
is not meeting its intended purpose, which is to
recover species," said Shaun McGrath, the
group's program manager.
Schwarzenegger is expected to attend, but the
moderate Republican has sided with
environmentalists on some issues, and a
spokeswoman said he hasn't taken a position on
rewriting the Endangered Species Act.
"As the ESA reform legislation makes its way
through Congress next year the governor will be
tracking it closely to make sure California's
interests are represented," said spokeswoman
The Western Governors Association has
endorsed legislation changing the act in the
past. Pombo said he will ask for the group's
support and lobbying as he tries to get his
bills through the full House and the Senate
after Congress reconvenes in January.