A Senate hearing to “modernize the Endangered Species Act” unfolded Wednesday just as supporters of the law had feared, with round after round of criticism from Republican lawmakers who said the federal effort to keep species from going extinct encroaches on states’ rights, is unfair to landowners and stymies efforts by mining companies to extract resources and create jobs.
The two-hour meeting of the Environment and Public Works Committee was led by Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), who said last month that his focus in a bid to change the act would be “eliminating a lot of the red tape and the bureaucratic burdens that have been impacting our ability to create jobs,” according to a report in Energy and Environment News.
In his opening remarks, Barrasso declared that the act “is not working today,” adding that “states, counties, wildlife managers, home builders, construction companies, farmers, ranchers and other stakeholders” have made that clear in complaints about how it impedes land management plans, housing development and cattle grazing, particularly in western states, such as Wyoming.
Statement of Eric Holst, Associate Vice President of Working Lands, Environmental Defense Fund
February 15, 2017
(WASHINGTON – February 15, 2017) The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works held a hearing at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, February 15, 2017 to discuss the “Modernization of the Endangered Species Act.”
“The Endangered Species Act (ESA) is one of our nation’s bedrock environmental laws, preventing the extinction of some of America’s most iconic wildlife – from the bald eagle that flies on the presidential seal to the New England cottontail that inspired the beloved fictional character Peter Rabbit.
“It should come as no surprise that the overwhelming majority of Americans, 90 percent of voters, support the law and want to see continued protections for the open prairie, tall forests and clean rivers that our nation’s wildlife call home. By protecting these ecosystems, we are also protecting healthy communities, vibrant recreation economies, and a rich natural heritage for future generations of Americans to enjoy. Continue reading “Protecting the Endangered Species Act Protects People and Nature”