From: alra@governance.net
Subject: Endangered Species Act Changes Expected Soon In Congress

Land Rights Network
American Land Rights Association
PO Box 400 – Battle Ground, WA 98604
Phone: 360-687-3087 – Fax: 360-687-2973 
E-mail: alra@landrights.org or alra@governance.net 
Web Address: http://www.landrights.org 
Legislative Office: 507 Seward Square SE – Washington, DC 20003

Endangered Species Act Changes Expected Soon In Congress

Action Deadline June 20, 2005.

The Resources Committee is in the final stages of deciding what provisions will go into a draft bill for Congress to consider how to update and modernize the ESA.  You still have time to make a difference. 

Your personal involvement is easy and critical.  See below.

The Resources Committee will come out with a bill sometime soon.  Probably within the next month or two.    From there the ESA bill will begin a long and difficult road through the Resources Committee and on to the House of Representatives.

If it passes out of the House, it will then begin a similar difficult trip through the Senate.  That is likely going to be more difficult than the House.

The provisions you want in the bill are not going to get there unless you fight for them.  Whining and moaning that one or another particular provision we really want is not there will get us nowhere.  All of us must take action now.

The Resources Committee will pass what is possible.  You must help make it possible.  

If enough people get excited and fight for certain provisions, then they may well survive the process.  If you lay back and put the load on your Congressman or the members of the Resources Committee, you’re likely to lose in the end.

Compensation is a critical issue to most of us who believe the ESA must be fixed so it can actually recover species.  At this point it is a failure having helped recover only 10 out of 1300 species.   

Landowners must be made to be allies of the process of recovering species.   They must not have to do it with a gun to their heads.  

Voluntary and incentive based language is critical here.  And landowners must be compensated when they take land out of production to benefit a species.  

Some will oppose these changes.  They will be very aggressively opposed by others.  

How hard you fight through your letters, phone calls, faxes and e-mails to your Congressman and the Resources Committee will determine whether the provisions you support survive.

Action Items:

-----1.   Deadline – June 20, 2005 -- You can be a part of the process in two ways.  The first is to print out one or more of the Testimony Questionnaires on the home page of www.landrights.org and fax or mail them to American Land Rights and/or the Resources Committee.   You can use these Testimony Questionnaires to tell Congress your priorities.   See below for the addresses. 

-----2.  Help us pick the priorities you want to fight for.   Below is a list of the changes to the Endangered Species Act developed by some members of the Grassroots ESA Coalition.  We need you to pick your top six changes and e-mail or fax them back to us.  E-mail them to ccushman@landrights.org or fax them to (360) 687-2973.

This list of principles or positions below is in a very rough order of priority that has not been approved by the Grassroots ESA Coalition.   

Please simply edit this message so that only your top six priorities show.  Delete the rest.   

-----1.   Property Rights: The Act should require compensation for
regulatory takings. Federal agencies should be subject to a statutorily
directed preference for using voluntary, un-coerced contracts with
property owners for a temporary lease or agreement to manage land for
the benefit of a listed species. A deal is a deal, the government should
be bound by any agreement it makes with a landowner.

-----2.   Incentives:  Use Voluntary, Contractual, Compensated Habitat
Management that would increase the quality of wildlife habitat while
lessening the conservation disincentives contained in current law.
Exempt a property owner from land use regulation when his management
practices create or maintain habitat for endangered species. Create an
ESA version of the CRP and require a substantial part of funding go to
the ESA/CRP program.

-----3.   Make Safe Harbor agreements user friendly and truly safe.

-----4.   The definition of "take" should be changed to require a direct
and proximate connection between the action and the loss of a specific
individual member of a listed species.

-----5.   Science: The definition of species should incorporate new
scientific information on the genetic make-up of species. Require
independent peer review of the science used in listing.

-----6.  Require Independent Scientific Review, what some have called “sound science.”  

-----7.  Conservation of subspecies and distinct populations should be
actively promoted but these categories should not be covered by the
regulatory parts of the Act.  Species that are beneficial or unique
should be given priority.

-----8.   Economic Considerations: Base listing decisions on science,
but subject any restrictions to consideration of economic and social

-----9.   A sunset provision should be added to ESA so the act expires
after 5 years unless re-authorized. Require species to be re-listed or dropped
from the list after 10 years.

-----10.   Requiring completion or amendment of recovery plans before designating critical habitat.

-----11.   Require that any listing or critical habitat designations be based on
actual verified field data demonstrating the presence of the species and
not based on scientific "hypothesis" that the species may one day be present.

-----12.   Amend the definition of critical habitat to require that FWS find the
area itself is essential to the conservation of the species and requires
special management measures based on actual verifiable field data and
not simply because FWS has found that the species Primary Constituent
Elements (PCEs) are present.

-----13.   Require FWS to utilize data developed by State, local and regional
wildlife agencies in making Critical Habitat and listing decisions.

-----14.  Require the FWS to work on recovery not just listing more species.

-----15.  Require regionally even enforcement. Fairy shrimp-like
crustaceans, for example, occur in eastern metropolitan areas and
although they are more endangered than California fairy shrimp, the FWS
refuses to list them.

-----16.  Federalism. The general primacy of state authority over
wildlife should recognized in ESA.

-----17.   Reimburse agencies for ESA costs from the FWS budget.

-----18.   Place restrictions on introduced, experimental populations.

-----19.   Expedite permits. Secretary must issue or deny within 90 days.

-----20.   Exemptions for human health and safety and permitted activities.

-----21.   Add transparency, openness and privacy protection provisions.

-----22.   Consider, analyze and test alternative recovery strategies.

-----23.   Include landowners in decision-making.

-----24.   Have a no-net-loss of private property provision.

Reminder –Deadline—Monday, June 20th.  Get your testimony in the official hearing record of the Resources Committee.   Send your filled out Testimony Questionnaires to the American Land Rights Association at PO Box 400, Battle Ground, WA 98604.  Or fax it to (360) 687-2973.   You can also send them to the Resources Committee directly.  The Committee information is below.

Send your priority issues list to ccushman@landrights.org

You can also send your send your testimony to:

Resources Committee FAX:  (202) 225-5929

E-mail:  resources.committee@mail.house.gov

Website:  http://resourcescommittee.house.gov/

Need more information -- phone:  (360) 687-3087


Want to be kept informed about events affecting the Endangered Species Act?

Join the Grassroots ESA Coalition.

Just send a message with your contact information (name, address, phone, fax and e-mail to ccushman@landrights.org

Be sure to tell us if your group wants to be a sponsor of the Grassroots ESA Coalition.  There are over 300 organizations as co-sponsors and a many more individuals.  There is no cost.

Be sure to tell us a little about your group.

Please call or e-mail at least five friends to urge them to get testimony in for the record by Midnight, Monday, June 20th.  


****Please forward this message as widely as possible.   Thank you.

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