[env-trinity] Endangered Species Act

Emelia Berol emelia at trailofwater.com
Thu Feb 23 14:14:48 PST 2006


I hope everyone will send Di Fei a message letting her know how they  
will feel about her if she supports Pombo's bill ...


On Feb 23, 2006, at 12:19 PM, Byron wrote:

> ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT:
>
> Report a boost for Pombo's ESA goals
>
> Stockton Record – 2/23/06
>
> By Hank Shaw, Capitol Bureau Chief
>
>
>
> SACRAMENTO - Two critical concepts in Tracy Rep. Richard Pombo's  
> proposed overhaul of the federal Endangered Species Act should  
> guide the U.S. Senate's attempts to reform the 23-year-old law,  
> according to the initial findings of a group senators commissioned  
> to help them prepare their legislation.
>
>
>
>
> But the group failed to find a path through the debate's thorniest  
> thicket: How to reform the ESA's "critical habitat" provision, an  
> often unwieldy tool intended to give threatened critters a place to  
> live and multiply.
>
> Overhauling the ESA is no small matter for San Joaquin County, the  
> Delta and the Mother Lode, where about a dozen endangered plants  
> and animals live, including the San Joaquin kit fox, the Delta  
> smelt, the red-legged frog and the riparian brush rabbit.
>
> Congress is closer to wholesale reform of the Endangered Species  
> Act than it has been in years, and Pombo has been the driving force  
> from the House of Representatives.
>
> He wrestled a bill through the House last year with the help of  
> Rep. Dennis Cardoza, a Merced County Democrat whose district  
> includes Stockton. The legislation now awaits action in the Senate.
>
> Debate stalled, however, because many senators wanted to hear what  
> an eclectic group of environmentalists, industry officials, legal  
> experts and scholars called the Keystone Group had to say about  
> reform.
>
> Late last week the group sent a letter to six key senators  
> endorsing Pombo's emphasis on providing incentives for the owners  
> of private land - where 80 percent of endangered species live - to  
> stop shooting, spraying, shoveling over and shutting up about the  
> critters on their property.
>
> Among its recommendations, the Keystone Group favors an increase in  
> programs such as the Conservation Reserve Program, which is widely  
> used in other Western states to expand habitat for game animals  
> such as sharptail grouse and mule deer.
>
> Other possible incentives could come as tax breaks for landowners  
> who actively improve their land to support endangered plants or  
> animals. Sens. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, and Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark.,  
> already have sponsored such legislation.
>
> The group did not discuss Pombo's proposal, which would reimburse  
> landowners for the lost value of property tied up through  
> Endangered Species Act provisions.
>
> Critics such as the Defenders of Wildlife say doing this would  
> spark a taxpayer-funded giveaway. Pombo counters with a  
> Congressional Budget Office estimate that the incentive will cost  
> taxpayers only about $10 million a year.
>
> "It cuts both ways, to be honest with you," Pombo said of the  
> report. "I'd half-hoped they'd come out with specific language (for  
> legislation), but I think they found out what I did over 13 years:  
> This isn't easy."
>
> The Keystone Group letter also backed Pombo's desire to switch  
> "critical habitat," which can be haphazardly drawn by overworked  
> federal agents, to a more thoughtful "recovery plan" designed to do  
> what it takes to lift a species from the brink of extinction.
>
> But how to do that - environmentalists and property-rights  
> advocates are deeply divided - could scotch the whole reform effort  
> in an election year.
>
> Additionally, Eastern politicians tend to be hesitant about  
> tinkering with the ESA, which is sacrosanct among even many  
> Republicans there.
>
> Among them is Rhode Island Sen. Lincoln Chafee, chairman of the  
> Environment and Public Works Fisheries, Wildlife and Water  
> Subcommittee and the senator who commissioned the Keystone Group.  
> Chafee faces a tough election road ahead.
>
> Chafee has been hoping to craft what he sees as a more moderate  
> bill than Pombo's, which Chafee says does not adequately designate  
> recovery habitat and lacks provisions to ensure compliance.
>
> Pombo says he wants moderates such as Chafee and California Sen.  
> Dianne Feinstein on board with whatever emerges from the Senate.
>
> "She has to be part of it," he said. "Now I'm sure she'll have  
> different ideas - I'm not saying my bill is perfect. If they find a  
> better way to do this, put it in the legislation."
>
> Pombo's bottom line is in line with the Keystone findings: Refocus  
> the ESA to recovery of a species, increase its funding to do that  
> and give them an incentive to help save threatened plants and animals.
>
>
>
> But he'll need a filibuster-proof 60 senators with him. Pombo fully  
> expects someone to block any reform effort unless it has such broad  
> support. And he says he's willing to compromise to get there.
>
> "It's not going to be everything I want. I know that," Pombo said.  
> "What we have to do is put together the coalition that gets us to 60."
>
> The Senate is expected to begin debate on the legislation next month.
>
>
>
>
>
> Byron Leydecker
>
> Chair, Friends of Trinity River
>
> Advisor, California Trout, Inc
>
> PO Box 2327
>
> Mill Valley, CA 94942-2327
>
> 415 383 4810 ph
>
> 415 383 9562 fx
>
> bwl3 at comcast.net
>
> bleydecker at stanfordalumni.org
>
> http://www.fotr.org
>
> http:www.caltrout.org
>
>
>
>
>
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