the film


Commentaries and editorials

Time to Improve the
Endangered Species Act

by Rep. Doc Hastings
Washington Times, May 18, 2012

Too much money spent on lawyers rather than on threatened wildlife

When the Endangered Species Act (ESA) was signed into law in 1973 by President Nixon, he spoke about the importance of preserving "the rich array of animal life with which our country has been blessed." I believe that goal is as important today as it was back then. However, after nearly 40 years, it's time to take a fresh, honest look at the law and consider whether there are ways it could be improved to do a better job of protecting and recovering species.

The House Natural Resources Committee, which I chair, has begun a series of hearings to review the ESA. The purpose of these efforts is to look for ways to update, improve and strengthen the law - not to turn back the clock to 1973, before the law was passed. Congress last renewed the ESA in 1988, which means it has been 24 years since any substantial updates have been made. Clearly, Congress has failed to do its job. Even the most ardent supporters of the ESA should be able to agree that after two decades, there are ways to make the law more efficient and effective. By listening to citizens both affected by and interested in the ESA, the committee will conduct a fair and open assessment of both the law's strengths and its weaknesses.

There are five objectives that I think a review and update of the ESA should achieve.

Updating the 24-year-old Endangered Species Act will help ensure that the law works better to recover endangered species. Congress can no longer kick the can down the road while millions of dollars are wasted on frivolous lawsuits, resources are diverted away from true species recovery, and jobs are lost due to regulatory red tape that does little, if anything, to protect species.

Rep. Doc Hastings, Washington Republican, is chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee.
Time to Improve the Endangered Species Act
Washington Times, May 18, 2012

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