USA finally updates Endangered Species Act after 45 years & the decision is final

Reposted from Dr. Susan Crockford’s Polar Bear Science

Posted on August 12, 2019 | Comments Off on USA finally updates Endangered Species Act after 45 years & the decision is final

Just out this morning:

Today, U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt unveiled improvements to the implementing regulations of the ESA designed to increase transparency and effectiveness and bring the administration of the Act into the 21st century.” USFWS Press Release, 12 August 2019.

Although much hue-and-cry will be written by conservation organizations and the media (here is one), I am providing for easy reference here links to the original press releases and documents issued this morning by the Department of the Interior and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. I am also providing pdf copies of the official documents to appear shortly in the Federal Register and quote the above USFWS press release in full.

polar_bear_resting_but_alert_original-usfws

It remains to be seen whether polar bears or other Arctic species of interest to me and readers of this blog will be affected. The new changes affect both the listing and delisting process as well as designation of critical habitat.

Department of the Interior Press Release, 12 August 2019. “Trump Administration Improves the Implementing Regulations of the Endangered Species Act”

USFWS support documents, 12 August 2019. “ESA Implementation | Regulation Revisions” [lays out the new rules, pdfs of submissions that will appear shortly in the Federal Register, the official repository of such regulations]

1. Revised regulations for listing species and designating critical habitat. PDF

2. Revised regulations for prohibitions to threatened wildlife and plants. PDF

3. Revised regulations for interagency cooperation. PDF

Department of Interior Explanatory Document, 12 August 2019. “What They Are Saying – Endangered Species Act Announcement” [statements from US Senators, lawmakers, and other stakeholders about the changes]

USFWS Press Release, 12 August 2019. “Trump Administration Improves the Implementing Regulations of the Endangered Species Act: Species recovery the ultimate goal”

Copied in full below:

In its more than 45-year history, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) has catalyzed countless conservation partnerships that have helped recover some of America’s most treasured animals and plants from the bald eagle to the American alligator. Today, U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt unveiled improvements to the implementing regulations of the ESA designed to increase transparency and effectiveness and bring the administration of the Act into the 21st century.

“The best way to uphold the Endangered Species Act is to do everything we can to ensure it remains effective in achieving its ultimate goal—recovery of our rarest species. The Act’s effectiveness rests on clear, consistent and efficient implementation,” said Secretary Bernhardt. “An effectively administered Act ensures more resources can go where they will do the most good: on-the-ground conservation.”

“The revisions finalized with this rulemaking fit squarely within the President’s mandate of easing the regulatory burden on the American public, without sacrificing our species’ protection and recovery goals,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “These changes were subject to a robust, transparent public process, during which we received significant public input that helped us finalize these rules.”

The changes finalized today by Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Commerce’s National Marine Fisheries Service apply to ESA sections 4 and 7. Section 4, among other things, deals with adding species to or removing species from the Act’s protections and designating critical habitat; section 7 covers consultations with other federal agencies.

The ESA directs that determinations to add or remove a species from the lists of threatened or endangered species be based solely on the best available scientific and commercial information, and these will remain the only criteria on which listing determinations will be based. The regulations retain language stating, “The Secretary shall make a [listing] determination solely on the basis of the best scientific and commercial information regarding a species’ status.”

The revisions to the regulations clarify that the standards for delisting and reclassification of a species consider the same five statutory factors as the listing of a species in the first place. This requirement ensures that all species proposed for delisting or reclassification receive the same careful analysis to determine whether or not they meet the statutory definitions of a threatened or endangered species as is done for determining whether to add a species to the list.

While this administration recognizes the value of critical habitat as a conservation tool, in some cases, designation of critical habitat is not prudent. Revisions to the regulations identify a non-exhaustive list of such circumstances, but this will continue to be rare exceptions.

When designating critical habitat, the regulations reinstate the requirement that areas where threatened or endangered species are present at the time of listing be evaluated first before unoccupied areas are considered. This reduces the potential for additional regulatory burden that results from a designation when species are not present in an area. In addition, the regulations impose a heightened standard for unoccupied areas to be designated as critical habitat. On top of the existing standard that the designated unoccupied habitat is essential to the conservation of the species, it must also, at the time of designation, contain one or more of the physical or biological features essential to the species’ conservation.

To ensure federal government actions are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of listed species or destroy or adversely modify their critical habitat, federal agencies must consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service under section 7 of the Act. The revisions to the implementing regulations clarify the interagency consultation process and make it more efficient and consistent.

The revisions codify alternative consultation mechanisms that may provide greater efficiency for how ESA consultations are conducted. They also establish a deadline for informal consultations to provide greater certainty for federal agencies and applicants of timely decisions, without compromising conservation of ESA-listed species.

Revisions to the definitions of “destruction or adverse modification,” “effects of the action” and “environmental baseline” further improve the consultation process by providing clarity and consistency.

In addition to the final joint regulations, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service finalized a separate revision rescinding its “blanket rule” under section 4(d) of the ESA. The rule had automatically given threatened species the same protections as endangered species unless otherwise specified.

The National Marine Fisheries Service has never employed such a blanket rule, so the new regulations bring the two agencies into alignment. The change impacts only future threatened species’ listings or reclassifications from endangered to threatened status and does not apply to species already listed as threatened. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will craft species-specific 4(d) rules for each future threatened species determination as deemed necessary and advisable for the conservation of the species, as has been common practice for many species listed as threatened in recent years.

From comments received during the public comment period in making these regulatory changes, concerns were raised regarding the lack of transparency in making listing decisions and the economic impact associated with determinations. Public transparency is critical in all government decision making, and the preamble to the regulation clarifies that the ESA does not prohibit agencies from collecting data that determine this cost and making that information available, as long as doing so does not influence the listing determination.

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92 thoughts on “USA finally updates Endangered Species Act after 45 years & the decision is final

  1. As a public land; hunter, camper, and hiker I have mixed feelings on this ruling. The easing of restrictions on hunting and return of formerly endangered species to state management is a net positive.

    However, President Trump’s Interim BLM manager has a propensity for returning BLM holdings to individual states. Historically, over 80% of land returned to the states ends up in private land. In other words, your land is sold for a profit without your consent or share of the proceeds.

    • Maybe it SHOULD be sold to the states. The FEDERAL GOVERNMENT does NOT need to be the LORD of all. (Is there some mild BIGOTRY here? Some STATES are more or less “equal” than others??)

      • The States never paid a dime for any Federal lands. They were all paid for by the Federal taxpayers, meaning the taxpayers of the entire nation, not of any one state.

        • I suspect the Federal government did not pay a dime for most of the land either. They simply claimed it as theirs. In rare instances we have paid foreign governments for lands the foreign governments had previously seized.

          At almost any level “ownership” is merely an ability to keep someone else from seizing the property by whatever means.

          • And we “bought” the central US from Napoleon in the Louisiana Purchase. The list is long, but only bolsters my assertion.
            From whom did the Russians or French “buy” the lands?
            None, they merely appropriated them from the local inhabitants at gun point.

          • Absolutely correct, but what happens when federal land entrusted to the states is sold to a private owner?

            What was the property of all citizens, becomes the property of a handful of citizens.

          • Louisiana Purchase $15 million. Treaty of Guadeloupe Hidalgo (Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming) $15 Million. Gadsden Purchase (Arizona, New Mexico) $10 million. Florida $5 million.

            All of those dollars were much bigger than modern dollars. Most of them were 27 grains of gold. One million of those dollars was 56,250 oz. of gold. At today’s price of $1,500/oz. That is $84,375,000. So the Louisiana Purchase cost $1,265,625,000 in 2019 money.

            It was good deal. We bought 827,000 sq. mi. of land for about $1530/sq. mi. or $2.39/acre. The average value of an acre of farmland in Iowa is about $7,400. That represents an increase of ~3100x. about 4% compounded for 215 years.

            I call it a bargain.

            “I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth — that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid?”

            B. Franklin 28 June 1787

          • RobR – And of course, again you are delusional. Have you any idea, ANY idea at all how much value is currently locked up on the hundreds of millions of acres of land under federal “control?” The state aren’t stupid, and would put those lands back to work, earning serious money for their coffers.

            Going back to another misstatement of yours: You specifically mentioned National Forrests {sic] as allowing all activities EVERYWHERE, then posted a link to BLM only. To quote, you are incorrect.

          • Who do you think benefits when public land is sold to private individuals.
            First off, the citizens of the state benefit because of the extra money in the hands of the state.
            Secondly the citizens benefit when costs to the state go down as they are no longer responsible for those lands.
            Thirdly the citizens benefit when those lands are finally put to productive uses.

          • For the most part “Ownership” only means the “owners” get to pay property taxes. Of course the feds and states want to sell the land to someone. That produces a revenue stream as opposed to maintenance expenses.

        • Duane wrote, “The States never paid a dime for any Federal lands.”

          Did you mean, “The States were never paid a dime for any Federal lands taken from them.” ?

          If we want lands to be managed well, we need to get them out of the hands of the federal government. Here’s a very educational, relevant lecture, by Montana State Senator Jennifer Fielder, who is also CEO of the American Lands Council (speaking last month at ICCC13):

      • No sir, just the opposite. You have the right to; hunt, hike, camp, fish, bike, paddle on any National Forrest or BLM land. In other words, it’s your land. History proves that that federal land transferred to state control invariably ends up in private hands.

        As for bigotry, what the heck do you mean?

        • RobR,

          I challenge you to bike and camp on “any National Forrest [sic] or BLM land. There are millions of acres of these lands completely off limits to such activity.

          I agree with Max – the federal government should transfer the National Forests back to the states. The feds aren’t using them or managing them, to the detriment of the states in which they are located.

      • How did the federal government get the land?

        The history of federal land ownership has been largely one of divestiture and public use, not acquisition. As the United States expanded across the continent, it did so by purchasing or taking the land that became new states. (Among the groups it took land from were Native Americans.)

        Over time, it transferred land to state governments and individuals, largely through homesteading and land grants, which allowed farmers to procure parcels of land for agricultural use. The government also tended to allow free use of unclaimed lands by ranchers and others, though there were skirmishes over the years when settlers tried to fence in public land or claimed land in Indian territories.

        https://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/06/upshot/why-the-government-owns-so-much-land-in-the-west.html

        Much more at the link.

      • Funny you mention that. I will be camping in National Forest and hunting on BLM land in less than three- weeks for the cost of; food gas, a habitat stamp, and elk and bear tags.

        The same hunt on adjacent private land would cost 10-12K.

        Pretty sure I understand exactly what’s going on.

        • Doesn’t change the fact that it is still the land of the states. The federal government took it when the states were relatively young and inexperienced, promising that:

          “No national forest shall be established, except to improve and protect the forest within the boundaries, or for the purpose of securing favorable conditions of water flows, and to furnish a continuous supply of timber for the use and necessities of citizens of the United States…”

          Congress screwed up the intent of the NF’s decades ago, with an ongoing myriad of often conflicting laws. The coup d’etat was EAJA, which forces the US taxpayer to fund the frivolous lawsuits that have shut down the NF’s.

          • Globalist Obama was ‘the land-grab president’, putting millions more acres under federal control; and the globalist Wildlands Project is to make most of the land off-limits to inferior humans. Word got around, so now it’s called the Wildlands Network. Let’s hope President Trump gets three terms to turn it all around. Failing that, Don Jr, make it four terms. https://infiniteunknown.net/2011/07/27/the-u-n-agenda-21-wildlands-project-%E2%80%A6-taking-over-america-starting-with-florida/
            The U.N. Agenda 21 Wildlands Project … Taking Over America Starting With Florida

          • The federal government had control of the land when most Western states were still teritorrys. States came into existence under the auspices of the federal government.

            It is you who is delusional if you believe federal land open to all people will be justly divided to state citizenry.

            Cronyism, insider deals and wholesale courrption will ensure the best property lands in privileged hands with sweetheart tax breaks, and you will have squat say in the matter.

        • “The federal government had control of the land when most Western states were still teritorrys. States came into existence under the auspices of the federal government.”

          That was then, this is now. The torch of American liberty is the primary target of the globalist new world odor. And demonizing carbon dioxide is the eco-fascist foundation of their masterful plan, a house of cards that some collective exhalation can knock down once and for all. But that’s not happening. Instead, the naked emperor is marching along while everyone debates his fashion.

          Why do you suppose every single democrat candidate is flaunting an INSANE platform under cover of phony polls, like they don’t even care about the votes. And they know why they failed in 2016: their main divisive tactic backfired and most voters lied about supporting Trump to avoid being pegged a racist. So internal polls showed he was leading, but the landslide was undetected, so only enough votes were stolen, through ‘fraction magic’, illegal voters and state-by-state fraud, to give Queen Hillary the popular vote. And they do NOT intend to make that mistake again. So we need Voter ID & paper ballots ASAP and we need to blow down their damn house of cards! But I digress…

          Witness a globalist tool at work…

          http://www.thiswestisourwest.com/index.cfm/in-the-news/monumental-audacity-obama-grabs-huge-western-lands-by-executive-order/
          Monumental Audacity — Obama Grabs Huge Western Lands by Executive Order
          “In a move that has environmental militants exulting and western farmers, ranchers, and property owners fuming, President Obama has locked up 1.8 million acres by executive fiat, with the stroke of a pen. Millions more acres are planned to follow, part of the Obama administration’s boast to use “audacious executive actions” — read unconstitutional usurpations — to advance his radical “transformative” agenda during his last months in office.”
          17 February 2016

      • The Louisiana Purchase from France resulted in the expansion of United States territory, but obviously there were no states within the French territories purchased.

        Ditto for the rest of the Western continental US . Purchased in 1867, Alaska didn’t become a state until 1959.

    • You sound like you won’t be happy until government owns everything.
      The horror of it. Individual citizens being permitted to own land.

    • ” your land is sold for a profit without your consent or share of the proceeds.”

      Nonsense. These lands are not “your” lands. They were controlled by remote unaccountable Federal bureaucrats. Transferring the lands to the states where they are located so that they are controlled by the elected representatives of the people of those states is what a “Federal” government should do. If the states ell those lands to private owners, the proceeds of the sale goes to the people of those states. Further, in private hands the lands can be taxed and they can be made productive.

      This is what should happen.

    • The Federal government is the creation of the Constitution. It is a government of limited powers defined in the Constitution. This is taught to us by Amendment X which states that: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

      The power of the Federal Government to own lands is both created, and circumscribed by Article I Section 8 of the Constitution which states that Congress has the power to: “To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, … become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards and other needful Buildings.’

      We learn from this that the Federal government can have the District of Columbia. The District is however limited in size.

      We also learn that outside of DC, the Federal government can only own land with the consent of the state legislature and only for a purpose, either military (forts, magazines, arsenals, dock-yards) or civil (other needful buildings).

      Please note that hiking, camping, hunting, and recreation are not allowable purposes.

      Land currently owned by the Federal Government is , at best, an historical anomaly. The Federal Government acting as a sovereign with respect to foreign sovereigns ( which is within the constitution) acquired land by purchase (Louisiana, Alaska, Gadsden) or conquest (Florida, California).

      Once the land is in a state, it should be subject to the consent of the legislature of the state, and the purpose limitation ought to apply. To date these niceties, particularly purpose, have been ignored.

      This situation should be remedied. All Federal Lands that are outside the purposes should be transferred to the states. Of course there are enormous tracts of the West that have allowable purposes like China Lake, 29 Palms, Camp Pendelton, and Area 51 are all places with clear military purposes.

      The remaining lands should be under state control. The states should be free to do with those lands what they think best. They may retain the lands under state ownership or dispose of them, but, that is the democratic choice of the people who live there and who are the best judges of the use of their lands.

      I will allow that the national parks, even though they are clearly unconstitutional, are extraordinarily popular. I am not so naive as to think that simply turning them over to the states would be at all politically possible. I think a viable compromise would be to transfer the parks to non-profit corporations under deeds of trust that would preserve their public use as parkland in perpetuity. The non-profit corporations should have trustees appointed by the Federal and state governments.

      • How should we then ascribed legitimacy to the Homestead act, Are any other federal divestments of land if it want the federal government’s in the first place?

        • Before the states were organized the Federal Government was a sovereign and could dispose of the lands as it thought best. If there are title defects, I think the states and the Federal Government can work out confirmatory legislation. The current owners can claim that the rule of proscription applies as they have held the land in adverse possession for more than 21 years openly, notoriously, hostilely, exclusively, and under a claim of right. The Feds and the States would have to waive the defense that there can be no adverse possession against the sovereign.

    • All lands belong to the State, not a Federal holding. Holding is for Federal buildings places of armament (Navy Army). About 1896 the Federals proposed giving the Individual States the Forest Property (National Forests) within that state that was not private owned. California in a mental depression was to be the first to receive this property. Specifically the California Forest (later became Mendocino National Forest). Shallow thinkers – California put provisions – Pay us money to manage said lands. All the while the Lands would if ‘managed’ sustained yield (55%) pay for any costs. This California rejection of receiving Federal Lands set the barge in motion. Giving land to a war veteran has some attachment to the gradual undermining of original purpose – State is to be more powerful than the federal .

    • It was said long ago from the religious days that God had dominion over the animals this is something that is historically past its ability to hold truth in fact the only thing that governs this Earth is the evolution and the creation of our natural resources and all the ecosystems and all the animals there that live they will live in harmony and peace and be protected by the laws of The Endangered Species Act by putting a positive connotation to the endangered species list will be protecting all the animals including the ones that live underground to this list we will make sure that exotic species are protected but we should never spy on them impose on their ability to procreate because once man becomes a science freak and a science photographer freak then they disturb the lives of the ecosystems now if I was a photographer I was a scientist and I decided to study your family and I imposed upon your family but you didn’t know I was watching you and disturbing you you would know that my energies around you and if I’m not a good person then you may know that I’m disturbing your energy and your vibrations and making you do different things this is the same as imposing animals and posing them by trying to take pictures of them when they are being killed or hurt this isn’t right there’s certain things on the television that should be
      censorship is an idea and something that could actually impose positive vibrations throughout the Universe and throughout Mother Earth so that these families of animals these families of fauna and Flora May strive to survive I know this because I’m in lightworker I’m an angel for the animals I have a lot of empathy and a lot of humility and I do in fact know that animals want to be left alone we need to just leave certain species alone for as long as we can so they can procreate my name is briena casares I was born on 11 22 1973 and I am 45 years old today . I am part of this at with flora and fauna to survive and fo be loved , protected and to give love.

  2. The moment I learned that the IUCN is run by a Danish economist and a Chinese Minster for Education and that they also concern themselves with “gender and social policy,” I made the decision to ignore every report I hear regarding endangered species. Or at least until such time as an international body consisting entirely of millions of field biologists with zero funding from governments, NGOs, or the media, do a full survey of the planet and make their report.

    What’s that you say, never going to happen?

  3. The more realistic pics of polar bears should be them tearing apart & eating bloodied seal carcasses instead of the supposedly “cute” pics. Reality bites.

    • Have you seen the obviously fake Russian photos of people purportedly feeding polar bear cubs and their mother some condensed milk?
      The fact that the internet is full of people believing those photos to be real is worrisome.

      • Anybody who thinks that hand feeding is natural polar bear behavior ought to be allowed to remove their genes from gene pool for the greater betterment of mankind.

        • No problem, the polar bear in question will remove the foolish human from the gene pool, and for free, at that!

          • Not always. That’s how we got mans best friend.

            But on the other hand. Anyone remember a film called ‘The Faces of Death’? Actual video of people being killed one way or another. One was a guy feeding a Grizzly Bear bread. He was outside the car and his family in the car. His wife was in the passenger seat with the loaf of bread handing the pieces to her husband. Next scene the wife is waving the empty plastic bread bag out the window. Next scene is the bear carrying the guys carcass off.

  4. To be clearer ESA was not reauthorized and amended. USFWS re-wrote the administrative rules implementing ESA. Any wise and thoughtful amendments to ESA in Congress have been fought tooth and nail by the environmental groups and kept from passing by their Democrat allies. All they ever wanted was ever stricter protections and regulations on human activity. The greens did get help doing what they wanted from several far left federal judges. One basically ruling that “threatened species” should get the same considerations as one listed as “endangered.” They also had a judge expand what “critical habitat” meant and how USFWS could define and enforce it. Of all the provisions of ESA critical habitat listings are the biggest conundrum with the greatest potential to affect private property rights. Example, back in the 1990s a “new” species of seagrass was discovered in Florida. What was fascinating was it seemed to only colonize spoil sites. The manatee crowd decided to get this new species listed as critical habitat for manatees. No manatee had ever been seen grazing this species or even reported frequenting where the seagrass grew. The state of Florida objected strenuously.

      • Trump won’t be going anywhere. You have no candidates that are even interesting, and the guy that gets the final say, says Trump stays.

      • I said “after next year”. Which is exactly what January 20, 2021 is.

        Get your reading comprehension straight before you make another dumb attack.

        • Funny how GOP and “Republican Party” don’t stand for anything that they used to, you know, like human rights, human dignity (the Party of Lincoln, you know), civil rights, free markets, science,logic, international alliances, free trade, non-stupid acting destructive Presidents, anti-Russia, anti-North Korea, respectful of women … you know, all that stuff that used to totally define what it meant to be a Republican.

          Now sadly, THAT party is long dead, replaced by its diametric opposite, the Trumpkin Party – or as it was said so often just a few years ago, “RINOs – Republicans In Name Only”.

    • Well Duane, let’s not jump to conclusions. It’s still possible that a pandering sneering Marxist son of a bitch won’t win the next election.

    • The Democratic President sworn in to office in 2021 will be named Trump.
      The Democrat party candidates are all Marxists and communist sympathizers.

      Remember, the Democrats *hated* President Reagan, the best president of the 20th century. What is it with the Democrat party and their relentless hatred for America?
      Bonus Point: The Betsy Ross flag is now deemed Rayciss!, even though it was prominently displayed at President Obama’s second inauguration.

      Duane – Care to explain that little conundrum for my poor little knuckle-dragging brain?

      • Prepare to shed many hundreds of gallons of tears come the morning of November 4, 2020. Perhaps even early on the evening of November 3, due to the landslide that ushers Trump towards his Federal indictment for obstruction of justice, and a fitting out for an enormous orange jumpsuit, in preparation for spending the rest of his life in a cell next to El Chapo at the Super Max prison in Colorado.

      • Duane missed the Yuri Bezmenov video. Duane thinks junkies and gangsters and terrorists deserve more respect than a melanin-deprived muddle-class Christian family. Duane received the orders and accepted them but was never aware of it – he just woke up one day and understood that his utter amorality made him morally superior provided he thought the correct thoughts, none of which came from what passes for his own mind.

    • The only disgrace has been the democratic candidates, for whom no personal slander against Trump is too vile, nor any lie too extreme.

      They are, by far, the presidential candidates of lowest ethical integrity in my memory.

      Each and all, they are unfit to govern.

  5. This reminds me of the process wherein the BLM listed the Sage Grouse as an “indicator species” which should get the same status as either threatened or endangered, while the State of Nevada sold hunting licenses and established season and bag limits for the same Sage Grouse. I ran into an exploration drill permitting issue in Elko County and offered to shoot, cook, and eat all of the Sage Grouse in the project area, which horrified the BLM, and we worked out an agreement fairly quickly.

    • Please add additional color to your experience. The BLM has no authority over game quotas, as each State managed its own game populations (exclusive of migratory birds).

      Why would feel compelled to kill every grouse in the development zone? In any case, the BLM has no say in the legal take of animal on BLM land.

  6. Does this mean I will no longer need to hire a wildlife biologist to collect Newts in coffee cans with every project I build near a creek?

  7. Okay, but is this change going to prevent “environmental” attorneys, calling themselves the Lorax, from suing the FWS and becoming wealthy from settlements using our tax dollars?

  8. You are invited to state (if you can) that the concept of a new endangered species has never been misused in your country or mine, for objection to development of resources. This new USA arrangement seems to bring emphasis back to criteria of the best available scientific and commercial information.
    Any amendments that take emotion out of the equation are welcomed, to reduce the horrendous loss of development as typified by the Adani coal mine protests here in Queensland.
    The days have passed when involvement of green groups was almost given an automatic pass as being in the public good.
    While you think of related matters, please run a critical eye over land use proposals of the United Nations world heritage register scheme. The UN has made clearer its acquisitive socialist agenda 21 and so forth. World heritage listing is no more to be assumed a public good. There are cases where its use has been evil and should be subject to more stringent, periodic, unemotional reviews such as this ESA review.
    Geoff S

    • The problem is the libraries full of pseudoscience published by BA holding “researchers” in the environmental field. You can basically site anything to suit your agenda with the amount of junk science there is.

  9. While they are at it, it would be great if they would update the “guidance” for the Migratory Bird Act to make the annual list easier for the public to find, to add a list of birds that are not on the protected list, to allow small children to pick up a dropped feather in their yard without breaking the law, and tell their evangelists to quit claiming that every bird in the nation has been on the list since 1918.

  10. I want to know whether the Trump Administration has ended the “stealth” funding of environmental groups by allowing those groups to sue and then “settling out of court”.

    I don’t read bureaucratise well enough to figure that ou

    • There is nothing stealth about it, and also the Trump administration has had nothing to do with it. EAJA (the Equal Access to Justice Act) was passed in 1980, the last year of the sorry Carter administration. Originally passed to that veterans could sue the federal government, EAJA has been overtaken by the environmental whackos, which use the act to force the US taxpayer to fund the frivolous lawsuits they file ad nauseum.

    • President Trump did indeed issue an executive order explicitly banning Sue-and-Settle practices.
      Bonus Point:
      The order also covered “Payment-in-Lieu” practices. This is when an agency (EPA usually, but others as well) finds regulations broken, and issues *huge* fines, sometimes in the hundreds of millions of dollars range. The agency will then offer to greatly reduce the dollar amount if the company agrees to donate the sum to a favored cause such as Greenpeace or Sierra Club, in lieu of a fine to the Govt. This was a hugely corrupt practice and amounted to nothing more than a government extortion racket.
      Two things about this practice:
      1) A careful reading of some regulations revealed they were physically impossible to comply with, and deliberately so. This generated a constant stream of funding to favored groups.
      2) The “Revolving Door”: Gina McCarthy testified to congress that the EPA “valued the contributions” of EPA higher-ups who had been executives at the major environmental organizations. So here we had a situation where the EPA managers were using the full force and coercive power of the federal government to direct hundreds of millions of dollars to organizations they had previously run.

      Note that all of this “Payment-in-lieu” money was all separate and distinct from the outright grants given out which supported the “Sue-and-Settle” initiatives.

      Good Googly Moogly, the previous was corrupt!

  11. It is simply bringing the Act into reality and what already goes on.

    I have been directly involved with decisions on land tenure regarding the Endangered Species Act whereby socio-economic interests are weighed up against conservation interests, including endangered species, to make decisions such as transfer of forest land to National Parks. It was routine to incorporate economic considerations when these decisions are made.

    The best way, and the way it was usually determined, was using things like the ‘Ecological Irreplaceability Index’, which looks at broader ecological communities rather than single species, and how these are represented in the broader region. If an ecological community has low representation it was given higher consideration. Individual endangered single species were not the main issue.

    I remarked at the time, that decisions between species and ecological communities HAD to be made from time to time, meaning that the idea I’ve heard that ‘humans don’t have a right to decide between species, or to decide whether one species dies and anther lives’ was not what happens in practice. These sort of decisions were made all the time, partly based on economic considerations, although as mentioned it was much better done with respect to vulnerable ‘ecological communities’ and not individual species.

    Something like drilling in remote Alaska would be seen as fine, as the various ecological communities there are very well represented in the surrounding region and are not vulnerable (and despite the fact that such drilling does not significantly affect the ecological communities that are there in any case), but don’t mention that to green politicians.

  12. The administrative procedures and regs are long overdue an overhaul. The original protection intent has been stretched beyond all recognition. For polar bear “critical habitat”, the USFWS literally designated the ENTIRE known range of all polar bears in the US. (see the map at:
    US-critical-hab.png
    Hope the new version is a real improvement.

  13. I recall early discussions about how ESA was actually for saving habitat, some correspondence obvious. Like many well intended things lots of problems with it have been discussed over the years. There have even been serious considerations (ultimately not acted on) such as the eastern oyster [Crassostrea virginica] which should have been laughed at, at least after they went out in the field for a couple of days.

    “…..the Endangered Species Act (ESA) has catalyzed countless conservation partnerships that have helped recover some of America’s most treasured animals and plants from the bald eagle to the American alligator.” The American alligator was never endangered, story was the the difficulty in telling skins of endangered relatives. Populations historically went up and down, went low in Louisiana, but came back with slowing human takings. I was working in some of their marsh habitat when populations were low, never seemed that rare. See V. L. Glasgow, 1991. The Social History of the American Alligator, St. Martin’s Press, NY for their interesting story.

  14. One of the largest land owner along the Rockies eastern slope is Ted Turner.
    OK, if there is going to be a finally updates Endangered Species will there be penalties for endangered birds getting whacked by windmills?

  15. Maybe we will see less bad science about changes in animal species because of bad humans. I remember the spotted owl hype. Some researchers who had koolaid stains on their face thought that the spotted owl could not decline UNLESS humans were to blame. The barred owl thought otherwise.

  16. Look, it’s quite simple. This land thing.

    This land is your land, this land is my land, from California to the New York island, from the redwood forest, to the Gulf stream waters, this land was made for you and me.

    • Nice little ditty, by a songwriter who was an avowed socialist and lived on the government teat during the Depression.

      No, land issues are NOT that simple. There, fixed it for you.

      • @LKMiller

        I don’t get it. Just because he “was” a sinner and all, you don’t think this land belongs to anyone, at all? Like, the song says, “this land was made for me and you”…

        Whom was it made for? If you name the “state”, then there you go. You got a whom. Or maybe the current land owner. Again, a whom. Or a cooperation. A whom. Old lady Smith. Whom.

        Most songs are political, don’t ruin another one for me. Suffer alone, will ya!

  17. As a dedicated Homo Sapiens and a believer in Darwinian natural selection I say that any species that can’t survive without human help should be allowed to die out and make room for a species that can live with us.

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