Source: Defenders of Wildlife
Posted by: Defenders of Wildlife - archive
Posted on: Sep 19, 2005 @ 12:09 pm


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 19, 2005

Cindy Hoffman 202/772-3255
William Lutz 202-772-0269



Act that Saved the Bald Eagle Now Endangered

Resource Committee Chairman Creates Loopholes that are a Developers' Dream

WASHINGTON - Legislation introduced today by Rep. Richard Pombo
(R-Cal.) would severely undermine the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and punch loopholes in the law on behalf of greedy developers, oil companies, and other special interests. Ironically called the "Threatened and Endangered Species Recovery Act of 2005," this legislation strikes at the heart of our nation's wildlife conservation efforts.

"If Rep. Pombo's legislation were part of the original Endangered Species Act, the recovery of the bald eagle, grizzly bear, and peregrine falcon would have been extremely difficult if not impossible," said Rodger Schlickeisen, President of Defenders of Wildlife. "The bill contains provisions that would severely cripple the federal effort to recover endangered plants and animals. It runs counter to the very intent of the Endangered Species Act and flies in the face of Rep. Pombo's earlier professed desire to improve wildlife conservation."

Jamie Rappaport Clark, former Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and now Executive Vice President of Defenders said, "Given Mr. Pombo's past statements about trying to make the Endangered Species Act work better, it's extremely disappointing to see him introduce a bill that does so much to eliminate opportunities for recovery of threatened and endangered wildlife."

"The Endangered Species Act has been extraordinarily successful at preventing the extinction of our nation's precious wildlife. Since
1973, only nine out of the 1800 animals protected by the Act have been declared extinct. Rep. Pombo's legislation would put an end to that astonishing record of success and undermine any hope of protecting endangered plants and animals in the future," Clark said.

An analysis of Congressman Pombo's bill by Defenders of Wildlife points to the following key problems:

* Repeals critical habitat without providing adequate assurances that habitat necessary for recovery would be protected.

* Undermines the requirement of federal agencies to ensure that their actions would not jeopardize the continued existence of listed plants or animals. Cuts wildlife experts out of the loop in determining whether agency actions would harm endangered plants and animals.

* Puts road blocks in the way of the use of the "best available science" and limits the type of science that can be used for endangered species recovery.

* Requires the federal government to pay landowners to not violate the law, setting a terrible precedent in regard to environmental protections. This would create a financial windfall for unscrupulous developers by requiring the government to compensate them for the value of any activity they propose on their land which would result in a take of a listed plant or animal.

* Places endangered plants and animals at risk whenever the federal government fails to meet a 90-day deadline for telling developers whether their actions would take an endangered species. If the government misses the deadline, no matter what the reason, developers get a de facto exemption from the law and wildlife would suffer.

* Eliminates the Endangered Species Committee, the Cabinet-level body created by Congress in 1978 to resolve truly irreconcilable conflicts between species conservation and development.

"At a time when our country is still reeling from the impacts of Hurricane Katrina, one has to wonder why reauthorization of the Endangered Species Act has become the immediate priority of Congressman Pombo and the Resources Committee," said Clark.

For more information and detailed analysis of the Pombo bill and the Endangered Species Act, see http://www.saveesa.org

Defenders of Wildlife is a leadin g nonprofit conservation organization recognized as one of the nation's most progressive advocates for wildlife and its habitat. With more than 490,000 members and supporters, Defenders of Wildlife is an effective leader on endangered species issues.




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