Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.
Pombo Seeks Bipartisan Bill On
Endangered Species Act
7/12/05, CQ by Darren Goode.
House Resources Chairman Pombo is negotiating with Democrats to introduce a rewrite of the Endangered Species Act by the end of this month. He has not planned a markup but usually shies away from marking up bills unless he knows floor action will quickly follow. With a crowded floor schedule this month, the House would have trouble squeezing in debate on endangered species unless a bipartisan agreement is reached. Discussions continue between Pombo and Resources ranking member Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., although there is no indication where the negotiations stand. Their spokesmen declined to comment on the discussions other than to say they are active.
Advocates for private property owners say an
overhaul is needed to balance costs associated with
protecting endangered species on their land. Nancie
Marzulla, president of Defenders of Property Rights,
said the House bill should, for example, pay
landowners for business losses or the fair market
value of their property if an endangered species
found on their land impedes their livelihood. "There
needs to be some balance introduced in the bill to
preserve endangered species but also recognize that
there are costs associated with that and some
sharing of that cost," Marzulla said.
Jaime Clark, executive vice president of
Defenders of Wildlife, said "pretty significant
conversations" are continuing, which is "always a
good sign." Clark and other environmental group
officials strongly criticized draft language that
was leaked before the July Fourth recess, which they
characterized as rolling back endangered species
protections. In particular, environmentalists said
the draft would alter the definition of
"conservation" and "critical habitats," changing the
law's emphasis from conserving habitats to
preventing extinction. Pombo's spokesman said those
drafts are dated. He said a rewrite is necessary
because Fish and Wildlife Service data show a less
than 1 percent recovery rate of the roughly 1,300
species listed on the endangered species list since
it was enacted in 1973.
A quartet of House and Senate Republicans -- including Pombo and Senate Environment and Public Works Fisheries, Wildlife and Water Subcommittee Chairman Lincoln Chafee, R-R.I. -- held a news conference in February pledging to try to enact legislation that was both bipartisan and bicameral. Chafee's subcommittee will hold a hearing on the act Wednesday morning, with witnesses including U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Deputy Director Marshall Jones and representatives of environmental groups, home builders, farmers and the timber industry. The hearing will touch upon providing incentives for private landowners to help reshape the act, which Pombo has said is a crucial component. Chafee said at the February news conference that a bipartisan bill debated in 1997 would be a starting point for discussions this year. That legislation included voluntary habitat conservation agreements for landowners that would allow them to sidestep further regulations as species are added to the endangered list.
by Darren Goode
Page Updated: Thursday May 07, 2009 09:15 AM Pacific
Copyright © klamathbasincrisis.org, 2005, All Rights Reserved