The 1973 Endangered Species Act (ESA) is in need of an overhaul. The Act was originally envisioned as a tool to protect species at serious risk of extinction. Unfortunately, over the last twenty-four years, the Endangered Species Act has been transformed into a weapon used to insure that the United States adheres to REWILDING commitments made under the U.N.- Convention on Biological Diversity Treaty, signed by Clinton in 1993, and the U.N.- 2030 Sustainable Development Treaty, signed by Obama in 2015. These UN treaties require huge swaths of land to be set aside in “ecologically representative and well CONNECTED systems of protected areas [CORES]… integrated into the wider [continental scale] landscapes.”
ESA provisions can regulate land use on private land. The Act requires formal Habitat Conservation Plans such as “Critical Habitat Designations” and species “Recovery Zones” which can impact both public and private land useage.
There are two main deficiencies in the Endangered Species Act as currently written.
The first flaw that needs correction is that the ESA allows for determining the status of a species based on “regionalism”. The ESA as currently written allows for estimates of “historic range” to be the determining factor in whether or not a species is considered “threatened” or “endangered”. Basing species protections on historic range ignores factors such as real population levels, sufficiency of current range, projected future trends, the requirements of other species, and compatibility with human activity, human settlement, and human values. Humanity should not have to take a back seat to frogs and toads, nor should lines on a map be allowed to carry more weight than basic biological and scientific facts.
The second major flaw in the Act is that it allows the Federal government, via Department of Interior agencies, to impose “Critical Habitat Designations”, species “Recovery Zones”, and other wildlife, resource, and land management plans, at will, arbitrarily, without any State, County, or legislative input or oversight. It allows the Department of Interior to conduct international negotiations and form bi-lateral and tri-national agreements without Congressional approval.
As a result of these flaws, the Act has been misused to expand the range of many large non-endangered carnivores such as the gray wolf, grizzly bear, and jaguar. The Act has been used to exterminate “non-native” trout that were planted 100 years ago in Sierra Nevada mountain waterways in an effort to return hundreds of lakes and rivers to their “natural, historic fishless condition”. The result is that a once vibrant backcountry fishery is being arbitrarily and systematically eliminated to allow for an increase in “native” insect populations that benefit “native” frogs and toads.
There are a number of Congressional bills at various stages in the legislature. Here’s a partial list and brief synopsis of some of the proposed legislation designed to correct some of the flaws in the ESA. (Click on the highlighted text to read the bill.)
- The Federal Land Freedom Act, designed to achieve domestic energy independence by empowering States to control the development and production of all forms of energy on all available Federal land.
- The 21st Century Endangered Species Transparency Act, currently in the Senate, would require all scientific data the government uses to list a species as “endangered” or “threatened” to be made public. As it stands today, much of the so-called “science” put forth by environmentalists hell bent on getting a species listed as “threatened” or “endangered” is based on fraudulent “conservation biology” value-laden concepts that are wholly unsupported by sound scientific data. Restrictive regulations which accompany massive Federal land grabs such as “Critical Habitat Designations” and “Recovery Zones”, have been based on “Conservation Biology”, a.k.a. REWILDING nonsense instead of on scientifically verifiable biological facts.
- The Listing Reform Act, currently in the House of Representatives, amends the Endangered Species Act of 1973 to require a review of the projected economic costs of adding a species to the list of endangered species or threatened species, as well as the economic costs to local economies when the Federal government imposes such things as a “Critical Habitat Designation”, and requires a review of the cumulative effect such mandates and regulations have on local economies.
It’s time to call your elected representatives and ask them to get on board with these and other legislative measures designed to correct serious flaws in the ESA and stop the wholesale REWILDING of America.