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The Endangered Species Act is a perfect example of a good law gone wrong.

The important goal of protecting biodiversity and helping species recover is all too often used by eco-gadflies to violate property rights and stifle economic activity.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Acting Director Margaret Everson said, “The Endangered Species Act has led to important conservation efforts that have brought species back from the brink of extinction,however, there are improvements we can make.”

CFACT’s Bonner Cohen was consulted by the Administration on how best to reform the ESA.  He explains at CFACT.org:

Over time, a statute originally intended to save bison, condors, bald eagles, and the like morphed into a powerful legal instrument that environmentalists adroitly used to shut down any activity – farming, ranching, logging, mining, energy extraction – they didn’t like. Rural communities in the West bore the brunt of the assault. Even worse, the ESA provided no incentives for landowners to cooperate with government officials in helping species to recover.

Now, the Trump administration has rolled out long-overdue reforms to both ease the burdens on landowners and actually aid in the recovery of species. The new regulations will affect future listings and will have no effect on species already listed.

The reforms keep the ESA’s protections solidly in place.  They merely ease bureaucratic overreach.  Placing huge areas off limits by designating them as critical habitats, with little or no benefit to the species in question, is an abuse of power.  The reforms also make it more possible to move species from endangered to threatened, or off the list entirely, as we succeed and they recover.  Government should plan for success.

CFACT has educated the public about abuses of the ESA for years and has long advocated for reform.

These reforms are small, measured public policy tweaks, that nudge the way we protect endangered species closer to reality.  You wouldn’t know it from the hue and cry emanating from the Left.

“Trump extinction plan guts Endangered Species Act,” proclaimed the Sierra Club.  “These changes crash a bulldozer” through the ESA said the Center for Biological Diversity.  Watch the headlines run by much of the media.  They are lifted right out of the press releases issued by these and other Green pressure groups.

California and Massachusetts have announced plans to sue.

Protecting endangered species is too important a priority to allow it to be misused by Green gadflies seeking to replace our free market economy with government control.

The Administration’s reforms ease the burden on property and business owners, while keeping species protection incredibly strong.

This is sound public policy and about time.

For nature and people too,

Craig Rucker

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