Playing God with "Endangered Species"

By Alan Caruba

According to Wikipedia, “A typical species becomes extinct within 10 million years of its first appearance although some species, called living fossils survive virtually unchanged for hundreds of millions of years. Most extinctions have occurred naturally, prior to Homo sapiens walking on Earth: it is estimated that 99.9% of all species that have ever existed are now extinct.”

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) was passed in 1973 at the height of the period in which Congress became enthralled with any legislation purported to save the planet and to regulate anything and everything that had to do with the environment. It is a complete failure.

In 1999, Jamie Rappaport Clark, then the director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FDS), told a congressional committee that “…in 25 years of implementing the ESA, we have found that designation of ‘official’ critical habitat provides little additional protection to most listed species, while it consumes significant amounts of scare conservation resources.”

Former congressman, Richard W. Pombo, then the chairman of the House Resources Committee and a member of the Agriculture Committee, said, “For a federal agency to admit its program provides little benefit while consuming huge resources translates in normal English to a program that is useless at best.” He was right then. He is right now.

Why then did the Associated Press report in September 2011 that “The Obama administration is taking steps to extend new federal protections to a list of imperiled animals and plants that reads like a manifest for Noah’s Ark—from the melodic golden-winged warbler and slow-moving gopher tortoise, to the slimy American eel and tiny Texas kangaroo rat.”

The Obama FDS “already had issued decisions advancing more than 500 species toward potential new protections under the Endangered Species Act.” Among the species selected for protection were 35 snails from Nevada’s Great Basin, 82 crawfish from the Southeast, 99 Hawaiian plants and “a motley cast of butterflies, birds, fish, beetles, frogs, lizards, mussels and more from every corner of the country.”

The answer is that the ESA was never about endangered species. It is a blunt instrument of environmental groups and those within the federal government to delay development anywhere in the nation. Almost 1,400 species on the government’s list are listed as “threatened” and none of them can be expected to avoid extinction, a natural process that cannot be impeded by human intervention.

The absurdity of the ESA can be seen in a recent request by Oregon officials for who received permission to kill sea lions that feed on “protected” salmon trying to swim upriver to spawn and now want permission to kill a sea bird, cormorants that dine on baby salmon trying to reach the ocean. The life and death cycle of salmon is as old as this species and those that prey on it for food to sustain their own lives. The Oregonians want to reduce the cormorant nesting colonies by ten percent.

Recall the outcry two decades ago that spotted owls were on the brink of extinction. The resulting action to protect them shut down a great swath of the timber industry in the northwest. It turned out that barred owls were preying on their cousins, again a natural competition between species. The Obama administration wants to set aside millions of acres to protect the spotted own and to authorize the killing of barred owls!

While the plan would allow some logging, it has nothing to do with spotted or barred owls and everything to do with attacking the timber industry in the same fashion it is attacking the coal and oil industry. It is an attack on the nation’s economic maintenance and growth.

Little known is the fact that the government compensates the legal fees of environmental groups that bring action to get a particular species designated as “threatened” or “endangered.” It is a scheme to enrich those groups that has nothing to do with the question of extinction and everything to do with setting aside vast parts of the nation from any development or use.

In 2006, California had the second-highest number of endangered species—from the California condor to the Delhi Sands Fly. It led the lower 48 states in acres of officially designated critical habitat with nearly twenty percent of approximately 100 million acres in the regulatory clutches of the FWS. It will cost California millions in lost revenue, particularly from its agriculture sector which feeds much of the rest of the nation.

In 2006, a federal judge halted a $320 million irrigation project in Arkansas for fear it might disturb the habitat of the ivory-billed woodpecker that many believed had already gone extinct. The National Wildlife Federation and the Arkansas Wildlife Federation had jointed sued the Army Corps of Engineers, to stop a project to build a pumping station that would draw water from the White River. Among their claims was that the noise from the station would cause the woodpeckers stress!

The only species that is endangered is the human species as environmental organizations continue to deny access and use of American land needed for growing crops, raising livestock, mining and drilling for energy resources, and building any new improvements including hospitals and other properties that would contribute to the welfare of the human inhabitants of planet Earth.

Not only is the ESA a huge bureaucratic failure, it is testimony to the arrogance and evil intent of the environmental movement to harm any form of economic activity and growth in America.

It is their way of playing God despite millions of years in which the extinction of species has been part of life on the planet. If dinosaurs still roamed the Earth, the ESA would declare them threatened and endangered.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

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Comment by Donna F. Fallis on May 4, 2012 at 12:13pm

Thank you Vern, I enjoyed the Carlin video. As strange as that man was, he made a lot of good points during his acts.

Comment by MUG on May 4, 2012 at 8:39am

David D Riker American.  The American Indian did not live in concert with the environment.  They did what they had to to survive without insane anti-survival regulation.  Before Columbus they didn't have horses so they killed buffalo by stampeding herds over cliffes where thousands might die, into ravines where they trampled many to death and were easy targets, and into rivers where many drowned and only harvested a few of the carcasses.  They stampeded the vast herds of buffalo by starting fires that often burned hundreds of square miles.  They used plants that were poisonous to poison still waters and harvest the tastiest fish.  The Indian living in concert with nature is a myth.  They knew how to survive and if they needed a meal they didn't care if they killed many animals to havest one steak.

Comment by Vern Shotwell on May 4, 2012 at 8:05am

Agreed, Mr. Reid!

George Carlin summarizes the Green Movement in his usual fine manner. Watch the video. Well worth the few minutes to do so!

Comment by J. Andrew Reid on May 4, 2012 at 7:50am

Whether their intent is truly evil or simply misguided makes little difference. We all know that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Whether evil or foolish the end result will be the same. I think the EPA should be forced to attend the George Carlin seminar on saving the planet. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=eScDfYzMEEw   expect typical George Carlin language and a good laugh

Comment by David D. Riker American on May 4, 2012 at 7:14am

I am a supporter of the EPA but not to the ridiculous extent of today. If the EPA had any intelligence, which they don't, it might be a good idea to take a long hard look at the lifestyle of the American Indian.

This is a group of people who learned to live in concert with the enviroment without a lot of fuss and over regulation. As we all know sometimes companies and corporations don't have a lot of regard for the enviroment when it comes to maximizing profits and keeping the stockholders happy.

The EPA needs to be stripped of most of it's powers and downsized to a monitoring role. Let me give you an example using the Keystone pipeline. Say the EPA found three areas that would be impacted by the construction of the pipeline.The EPA would present its findings to the general contractor and then monitor those three areas. It would be up to the general contracter to put in place a policy to protect those areas. They would provide the EPA with a copy of the policy so they could monitor the construction in those areas, to insure that policy was being enforced by the contractor. It would be the responsibility of the general contractor to insure that all the sub contractors followed this policy. This policy should be provided to all bidders on the project so any costs involved can be accounted for when putting a bid together for consideration for the work. This will help avoid cost overruns.

To insure that companies kept to the policy, you would only need one law for compliance. First the general contractor would be ultimately responsible and any sub contractor who failed to follow policy. By imposing massive fines and liquidation of the company. Company owners would serve time.  Funds raised would be used to restore the areas as needed.

This plan accomplishes the EPA objectives without a lot of regulation or direct cost to the taxpayer. Yes it's true we as consumers would pay for this, but the cost would be spread out for a long period of time.

By following the the ideas of the American Indian on how to respect the land, we can live in harmony with the enviroment as well.

Comment by Bruce Baker on May 4, 2012 at 3:33am

Even Human beings will eventually become extinct as the environment changes or the natural aggressiveness of nature kills us all off.  Maybe the education of human beings should be MORE REAL and LESS POLITICALLY CORRECT as they need to deal with REALITY and PAIN??  Just a thought .... before I become extinct in a few more years when my body dies and those still alive come up with some more crazy thinking ...

Comment by Jenny Donatelli on May 4, 2012 at 1:35am
In defense of Oregon, the salmon are a major economic asset. Fishing tourism when they head upstream, and fisheries after they head out to sea. It's about protecting people's livelihoods.

But who wants to let facts-- like the age of the earth, how can a species last "millions of years"? -- get in the way of a good rant?
Comment by Pat Chadwell on May 3, 2012 at 6:21pm

All the facts are showing that the ESA and the EPA and a few other is about taking control of the USA and reducing the people that think instead of just being told how and when to do something while the elite do what they want at the Peoples expence....

Comment by MUG on May 3, 2012 at 6:13pm

Thank you Alan.  You say 99.9 percent of all species that have ever existed are extinct.  Are there less species in existence now than in previous ages, say for instence the Age of Dinosaurs?  If there are about as many species in existence now as in the past within say three standard deviations, then what's the purpose of ESA?

Comment by Pat Chadwell on May 3, 2012 at 6:10pm

I worked on that canal when it was being built and the smelt could live quite well in the canal but the left want to starve the USA and this is just one way for them to start....

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