From: alra@governance.net
Subject: Action Alert--Wall St Journal On Pombo Endangered Species Effort

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 2000

Action Alert--Wall St Journal On Pombo Endangered Species Effort

See below for the full text of the Wall St Journal editorial.

Alert – Alert – Alert 

The House Resources Committee is holding a hearing on the ESA on Tuesday, July 19th.    Efforts to update and modernize the ESA face possible make-or-break legislative action in Congress sometime after July 19th.  

Things are really moving fast on ESA in Congress.

It’s important for you to call, fax and e-mail your Representative to let him know you want the Endangered Species Act updated and modernized so that it actually recovers species while protecting private property, communities and jobs.  This is the best chance you are going to have, perhaps for decades.

A few of our well-meaning allies are actually fighting the bill soon to be offered by Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA), Chairman of the House Resources Committee.  
They’re also attacking Chairman Pombo.  They feel his bill does not go far enough.  They’re demanding  their complete agenda   . . . . . or nothing.

Our ultimate goals are virtually identical.  But our purist friends are insisting on everything.  Some have even issued what amounts to ultimatums to Chairman Pombo, Committee staff and others.    Those tactics never work in Congress.  They will get them and you nothing.    

Our view is simple.  We save landowners.  

We don’t just talk about it.  We don’t just hold conferences about it.  We don’t just write papers about it.   We don’t just send out press releases.  

We get between the government and landowners and stop condemnations, eminent domain, takings, and over regulation.  We’ve even stopped forclosures instigated by the government.  We try to stop bad legislation and pass good legislation.  We’ve been doing it for 33 years and our success rate is very high.

Unlike some groups, we’ve actually helped pass legislation.  You cannot always say no.  You have to be for something instead of against everything.  And you have to trust somebody in Congress once in a while.

Pombo’s bill isn’t perfect.  I doubt if any bill that has passed Congress has ever been perfect in the eyes of its supporters.  There is always give and take in Congress.

But we want to save landowners.

The Pombo Bill will save a lot of landowners.  

Will it save all landowners?  No.  Do we wish it would do more?  Yes.

But insisting on everything in the perfect bill dooms the Pombo bill to failure.  It would never pass Congress.

That saves no landowners . . . . . . . or Federal land users, or communities.

We would rather have part of something than all of nothing.

What if Schindler of Schindler’s List had said that since he could not save all the Jews from Hitler, he wouldn’t save any Jews from Hitler?

What do we say to all the landowners, families and businesses who could have been saved by the Pombo ESA Bill if it were to fail because we insisted on getting everything and got nothing?

We save landowners.  The Pombo Bill saves landowners.  

The environmental groups have been successful at passing their agenda because they’ve been willing to accept a partial win and come back for more.   They are successful at passing their agenda incrementally over time.  We could do well to learn from them and follow that method.  There really is no choice if we want to be successful.

We believe in Chairman Richard Pombo.  We support him.  He has a wonderful property rights record going back his entire career.  He is trustworthy and a team player.  He is well respected by the rest of Congress on both sides of the isle.

The ESA has failed to do its job for 31 years.  Only 10 species out of 1300 have been recovered by the ESA, and even those 10 claims are dubious.

The Pombo Bill will go a long way to recognizing the failures of the ESA.  Its language learns from the mistakes of the past so the ESA can be updated and modernized to actually recover species while protecting landowners, Federal land users, communities and more.

You must decide where you fall on these issues.

*****If you agree with us, call, e-mail and fax your Congressman Now!  Urge him or her to support Chairman Pombo is his courageous effort.  

*****Any Representative can be called at (202) 225-3121.  When you call, ask for their fax number and e-mail address.  Don’t waste time on US Mail.  The Anthrax mail inspections take so much time that anything you send by mail won’t get there in time.  Write a letter and fax it.  Or e-mail it.

Now is the time for action.  

You have history and the future of thousands of landowners in your hands.

Please call now!


Endangering Species

Wall Street Journal, 
July 1, 2005

The aim of the 1973 Endangered Species Act is to recover plants and animals threatened or endangered with extinction. Does it work? Thirty-two years and hundreds of millions of dollars later, it would be nice to know.

So kudos to Representative Richard Pombo, who ordered a comprehensive review of the law from the House Resources Committee, which he chairs. Mr. Pombo has long argued that the species act is broken in a way that not only renders it incapable of conserving plants and animals but also puts unnecessary burdens on private landowners. It turns out he was right.

The House report was compiled almost entirely from official records, including from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service, which makes it difficult for critics to argue it's a political hit job. Of the nearly 1,300 domestic species on the endangered list, the law has managed to "recover" a grand total of 10. That's a success rate of less than 1%.

Supporters of the law would say that species recovery is slow work that has to be measured over a long period -- say, 100 years. But even the trends don't look good. A mere 36% of listed species are considered stable or improving. And even this 36% is nothing to celebrate, given that in many cases the only reason a species is deemed on the mend is because officials overstated the problem in the first place.

When the plant, Johnston's frankenia, was first listed, it was thought to have dwindled to about 1,500 specimens. Oops, someone miscounted. There are close to nine million, which explains why Fish & Wildlife is now proposing to remove the plant from the endangered list. Of the 10 officially "recovered" species, six were subject to erroneous original data.

These errors have real financial consequences -- in particular for other species recovery. Government resources are finite, and every dollar spent on an erroneous listing is one less that could go to a species in need.

Take the Preble's meadow jumping mouse, which Fish & Wildlife also wants to de-list due to mistaken scientific data. An economic assessment that accompanied the "critical habitat" designation for this perfectly healthy animal estimated taxpayer and private costs would total $79 million to $183 million over 10 years.

Unlike other environmental laws, the Endangered Species Act doesn't require quality, peer-reviewed science in its listings. And since getting species on the list is often the simplest way for environmental groups to pursue other agendas -- such as tying up private land and blocking development -- they churn out dubious studies at the speed of procreating rabbits. Fish & Wildlife currently has 283 species that are candidates for listing -- which would cost $150 million to add. The agency's entire listing budget for fiscal 2004 was $12.1 million.

Another problem is that the law doesn't allow for real priority setting. Call it the Lake Wobegone effect for species. In a statistic that defies logic, more than 92% of listed species have been accorded priorities that put them in the upper half of Fish & Wildlife's priority ranking system -- i.e., they are all a top priority. This makes it impossible to focus on species truly in need.

Mr. Pombo has been trying to get species act reform rolling in the House, but Democrats don't want to amend a law that gives so much power to their green-lobby benefactors. One fix would be for Republicans on the Rules Committee to make appropriations money contingent upon reauthorizing the law, thereby forcing a debate. Mr. Pombo asked for such a ruling a while back, but his colleagues lacked the nerve. So the federal government will continue to enforce a law that costs more than it should and still doesn't protect the truly endangered

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