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From the ALRA

Land Rights Network
American Land Rights Association
PO Box 400 – Battle Ground, WA. 98604
Phone: 360-687-3087 – Fax: 360-687-2973 – E-mail: [email protected]
Web Address: http://www.landrights.org
Legislative Office: 507 Seward Square SE- Washington, DC 20003
Phone: (202-210-2357 – Fax: 202-543-7126 – E-mail: [email protected]


THANK YOU to Sen. Thomas, Rep. Taylor


TWO ITEMS OF GOOD NEWS:

ONE: Senator Craig Thomas of Wyoming has introduced excellent legislation to require scientific evidence that a species be threatened before it can be proposed for listing under the Endangered Species Act. It is bill number S.369.

Here are portions of his announcement of S.369:

"It is evident to me that the current system is broken and the good intentions of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) have been stretched beyond rationality,” Thomas said. “If I wanted to put the goldfish on the list, I could start the petition today. My bill will begin to provide order, making the ESA more effective for local landowners, public land managers, communities, and state governments."

The Thomas bill "establishes minimum requirements for a listing petition, including: an analysis of the status of the species; its range; population trends and threats, and if sufficient biological information exists to support a recovery program. S.369 would give a more substantial role to the states and general public in determining which species are endangered.

Thomas said the listing of particular species should be a scientific decision based on credible data. The Senator pointed to the current situation, calling it a “post card” petition, where any person who wants to start a listing process may petition a species with little or no scientific support.

Thomas’ legislation requires that each listing be supported by sound science and need. While recovery is the ultimate goal of the ESA, under current law it is virtually impossible to delist a species. There is no certainty in the process, and the state that has all the responsibility for managing the species once it is off the list is a not true partner in that process. Once the recovery plan is met, the species should be de-listed, according to Thomas.

THANK YOU Senator Thomas!

TWO: Representative Charles Taylor of North Carolina, Senator Conrad Burns of Montana and Interior Secretary Gale Norton have joined to substantially reduce land acquisition funding.

The federal government already owns nearly one-third of the land area of the United States, and does not properly manage the empire it already controls.

This is what Congressman Taylor had to say to an influential publication called "Federal Parks and Recreation" newsletter:

"We frankly cannot go about buying additional lands when we clearly don't maintain the lands we have, can't protect them from fire, and don't come close to compensating local communities for the property tax losses associated with federal land ownership."

And listen to the whining of Big Green! Here is what one land-grabbing outfit called Americans for Heritage and Recreation had to say about land acquisition funding levels: "it doesn't seem to add up to the authorized level. Hmm...we must have been home in bed with the flu when the teacher taught us how 188 + 160 = 900 million. Any math wizards out there who can help us out, please do. Until then, we will do more analysis of the budget and get back to you later in the week."

ACTION ITEMS:

-----1. FIRST - THANK Property Rights CHAMPION Senator Craig Thomas of Wyoming for taking on the Endangered Species Act! Abuse of the ESA is at the core of attacks on private property rights, and Senator Thomas proposes to change that. E-mail: [email protected] Web: www.thomas.senate.gov PHONE: (202) 224-6441. FAX: (202) 224-1724.

-----2. SECOND - CONTACT your Senators - whether you think they are good or bad or whatever, and ask them to cosponsor Sen. Thomas's bill to improve the ESA listing process, S.369. See the numbers below.

-----3. THANK Property Rights CHAMPION Congressman Charlie Taylor of North Carolina for speaking out in support of common sense! Federal agencies cannot properly manage the empire they already control, and should not be buying any more land. Of course, the job is not done yet - there is still money being spent on land grabs - but it is being drastically reduced.
E-mail: [email protected] Web: www.house.gov/charlestaylor PHONE: (202) 225-6401.
 

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I called Senator Thomas' office, and was they sent me the statement made by Senator Thomas when the bill was introduced:

Mr. President, I rise today to introduce the “Listing and Delisting Reform Act of 2003.” The Endangered Species Act has become one of the best examples of good intentions gone astray. Today, I am taking one small step toward injecting some common sense into what has become a regulatory nightmare. It is my intention to start making the law more effective for local landowners, public land managers, communities and state governments who truly hold the key to any successful effort to conserve species. My legislation seeks to improve the listing, recovery planning and delisting processes so that recovery, the goal of the act, is easier to achieve.In Wyoming, we have seen first hand the need to revise the listing and delisting processes of the Endangered Species Act. Listing should be a purely scientific decision. Listing should be based on credible data that has been peer-reviewed. In 1998, the Preble’s Meadow Jumping Mouse was listed in the State of Wyoming. The listing process for this mouse demonstrates how the system has gone haywire, devoid of good science. One of the more significant shortcomings regarding the handling of the Preble Mouse has been the confusion between the “known range” as opposed to the alleged “historical range” of the mouse. Historical data and current knowledge do not support the high, short-grass, semi-arid plains of southeastern Wyoming as part of the mouse’s historical habitat range. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has even admitted to uncertainties regarding taxonomic distinctions and ranges. Further, the state was not properly notified causing counties, commissioners, and landowners all to be caught off guard. Such poor practices do not foster the types of partnerships that are required if meaningful species conservation is to occur. Clearly, changes to the Endangered Species Act are desperately needed.Not far behind the mouse in Wyoming, was the black tailed prairie dog. Petitions to list the prairie dog were filed with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. I’ve lived in Wyoming most of my life, and I’ve logged a lot of miles on the roads and highways in my state over the years. I can tell you from experience that there is no shortage of prairie dogs in Wyoming. Any farmer or rancher will concur with that opinion. This petition, and countless other actions throughout the country, makes it painfully clear that some folks are intent on completely eliminating activity on public lands, no matter what the cost to individuals or local communities that rely on the land for economic survival.

Mr. President, my legislation will require the Secretary of the Interior to use scientific or commercial data that is empirical, field tested and peer-reviewed. Right now, it’s basically a “postage stamp” petition: any person who wants to start a listing process may petition a species with little or no scientific support. This legislation prevents this absurd practice by establishing minimum requirements for a listing petition that includes an analysis of the status of the species, its range, population trends and threats. The petition must also be peer reviewed. In order to list a species, the Secretary must determine if sufficient biological information exists in the petition to support a recovery plan. Under my proposal, states are made active participants in the process and the general public is provided a more substantial role.This legislation requires explicit planning and forethought with regard to conservation and recovery at the time the species is listed. Let me be clear about the intent of this requirement. I do not question the basic premise that some species require the protection of the Endangered Species Act. However, listing a species can cause hardship on a community. For that reason, it is critically important and only reasonable that every listing be supported by sound science. We should be sure of the need for a listing before we ask the members of our communities and private landowners to make sacrifices.

In Wyoming, I have found that with several listings, the Secretary of the Interior was unable to tell me what measures were required to achieve species recovery. The Secretary could not tell me what acts or omissions we could expect to face as a consequence of listing. How can this be, if the Secretary is fully apprized of the status of the species? Conversely, if the Secretary cannot clearly describe how to reverse threatening acts to a species so that we can achieve recovery, how can we be sure that the species is, in fact, threatened?

Mr. President, this ambiguity has caused much undue frustration to the people of Wyoming. If the Secretary believes that certain farming or ranching practices, or a private citizen's development of their own property is the cause for a listing, then the Secretary should identify those activities that have to be curtailed or changed. If the Secretary does not have enough information to indicate what activities should be restricted, then why list a species? Why open producers and others to the burden of over-zealous enforcement and even litigation without being able to achieve the goal of recovering the species?

Mr. President, this legislation is ultimately designed to improve the quality of information used to support a listing. If the Secretary knows enough to list a species, that person should know enough to tell us what will be required for recovery. That should be the case under current law, and that is all that this provision would require.

Additionally, we need to revise the end of the process, the de-listing procedure. Recovery should be the goal of the Endangered Species Act. Yet, it is virtually impossible to de-list a species. There is no certainty in the process, and the state who has all the responsibility for managing the species once it is off the list are not true partners in that process. Once the recovery plan is met, the species should be de-listed.
Wyoming’s experience with the Grizzly bear pinpoints some of the problems with the current de-listing process. The Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee set criteria for recovery and in the Yellowstone ecosystem, those targets have been met, but the bear has still not been removed from the list. We’ve been battling the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for years over this issue to no avail. Despite rebounded populations, we keep funneling money down a black hole.Mr. President, the point is something needs to be done. People in Wyoming have grown weary of the Endangered Species Act and the efforts of a vocal minority to run roughshod over their lives and interests. It is imperative to the longevity of many species and our citizens in the West that we bring this Act to the snubbing post and gain control of the process. The changes I’ve suggested will have a significant affect on the quality of science, public participation, state involvement, speed in recovery and finally the delisting of a species. Species that truly need protection will be protected, but let’s not lose sight of the real goal-recovery and delisting.

Thank you,
Senator Thomas
 

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Can we somehow switch Sen.Box-us -in for Senator Thomas
I would vote for him any day
 

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rockwrangler said:
Can we somehow switch Sen.Box-us -in for Senator Thomas
I would vote for him any day
I wish it were that easy. Can't wait to find out who will go up against Boxer. I hope someone with a chance to win will go for it. I plan on being very involved with the campaign to dethrone the bitch...

Jon
 
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