From: alra@governance.net
Subject: ESA Senate Action Gets Boost By Senate Report

Land Rights Network
American Land Rights Association
PO Box 400 - Battle Ground, WA 98604
Phone: 360-687-3087 - FAX: 360-687-2973
Email: alra@governance.net
Web Address: http://www.landrights.org
Legislative Office: 507 Seward Square SE - Washington, DC 2000

ESA Senate Action Gets Boost By Senate Report 

Keystone Center agrees ESA needs updating; does not make recommendation on critical habitat

By Tom Randall
Date: February 22,2006
Issue:   "We truly appreciate the efforts of those who contributed to the Keystone process," Senator James Inhofe, chairman of the U.S. Senate's Environment and Public Works Committee, said today. "The Keystone [Center] has reached a consensus that the current framework of the ESA is in need of repair to improve its effectiveness and efficiency, and we will work to draft a bipartisan bill with that guidance in mind.  While it is disappointing that a final agreement could not be reached with regard to critical habitat designations...it is now clear that the Senate should act to complete the legislative process begun last year in the House..."  

We agree with Senator Inhofe and would suggest the Senate include four important aspects of the House-passed Threatened and Endangered Species Recovery Act (TESRA).  They are:
TESRA item1:  For the first time, scientifically peer-reviewed recovery plans would be required when species are listed as threatened or endangered.  This replaces the arbitrary habitat designations that can actually harm species or be irrelevant to their recovery. Such designations and lack of plans have resulted in the recovery of only 10 of nearly 1300 listed species over the last 30-plus years while over three times as many species have been found to be extinct.
TESRA item 2: For the first time, private landowners will be offered incentives for voluntary conservation plans which aid species recovery.  Since the majority of threatened and endangered species live on private property, these incentives provide an important recovery tool missing in the old ESA.
TESRA item 3:  For the first time, private property owners will be compensated when they lose part of the value of their land to recover a species.  This is a simple issue of fairness.  Society, as a whole, benefits from the recovery of a species so society, as a whole, should share the cost.  This compensation is a one-time reimbursement, based on current use, not some future use.
TESRA item 4:  For the first time, local entities and state governments will be brought into the planning and implementation processes for recovering species.  Since those closest to a situation often have the best insight into it, this is a valuable aid to recovering species. 
Link: To read more about the Keystone Center and who was invited to work on this report, go to: http://www.keystone.org/spp/env-esa.html

Contact: Tom Randall
Winningreen LLC
e-mail: trandall@winningreen.com

Resources Committee Keystone Report Press Release Below


      For Immediate Release
      February 22, 2006
      Contact: Brian Kennedy, Resources Committee (202) 226-9019
      John Bray, Rep. Cardoza (202) 226-4637

      Pombo, Cardoza: Keystone Center Reaffirms Need to Update and Modernize the ESA

      Group Makes Recommendations Similar to House-Passed TESRA 

      Washington, DC -The Keystone Center announced the completion of its review of potential improvements to the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in a letter written to and released by Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) Tuesday. House Resources Committee Chairman Richard W. Pombo (R-CA) and Congressman Dennis Cardoza (D-CA), who successfully led ESA reform efforts in the House last year, issued the following statements regarding the Keystone Center's conclusions:

      "The Keystone Center's letter to the Senate reaffirmed the 229 House Members who voted to update and modernize the ESA," Pombo said. "In fact, it reaffirmed the views of all 415 Members who voted to make significant improvements to the 33-year-old ESA last year, whether those updates were in the House-passed bill or the substitute that was considered as an alternative.  One thing is certainly clear: it is not a question of IF, it is a question of HOW, and I look forward to working with the Senate to get this job done." 

      "I am very pleased that the Keystone Group has echoed the sentiments of the U.S. House of Representatives on the need to reform the Endangered Species Act," said Cardoza. "The Keystone Group's recommendations reinforce what I have long believed: the Endangered Species Act needs to be modernized and refocused on its original goal - species recovery."

       While the Keystone's Center's recommendations are "conceptual," they serve as recognition of and reinforcement for the need to improve the ESA's effectiveness for species at risk, to make government activities more efficient and to reduce the concerns of regulated parties, especially American landowners.  These are principles on which there is consensus and which are addressed in Cardoza and Pombo's House-passed Threatened and Endangered Species Recovery Act of 2005 (TESRA).  The House and the Keystone Center, by request of the Senate, are on record supporting the need to improve the ESA.

      TESRA addresses many of the key areas Keystone conceptually addresses. Just a few of the similarities in the House bill and Keystone's recommendations are: 

        a.. "a greater focus on function, content, scope and mechanics of recovery plans" by requiring - for the first time -  that recovery plans be produced on schedule and providing an improved framework for plan content and development; 

        a..  "more effective incentives" with entirely new provisions for agreements, contracts, grants and aid to foster recovery while reducing the burden on landowners; 

        a..  "integrating habitat protection and conservation into the ESA" by eliminating wasteful and litigious critical habitat process, identifying habitat of special conservation value within recovery plans and making the habitat conservation plan process more effective and; 
        a.. a "clearer more effective role for the states" giving states a leading role in the recovery planning process. 

      Click here to learn more about the Endangered Species Act and TESRA.



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