Issues of concern to people who live in the west: property rights, water rights, endangered species, livestock grazing, energy production, wilderness and western agriculture. Plus a few items on western history, western literature and the sport of rodeo... Frank DuBois served as the NM Secretary of Agriculture from 1988 to 2003. DuBois is a former legislative assistant to a U.S. Senator, a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Interior, and is the founder of the DuBois Rodeo Scholarship.
Thursday, December 29, 2011
Hastings, GOP target Endangered Species Act
The gray wolf hit a major milestone on Dec. 21, when the Obama administration said the wolf's population in the Great Lakes region had grown to the point where the animals no longer required federal protection. With more than 4,000 gray wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said the wolf could be removed from the Endangered Species List, which "once again ... has proved to be an effective tool for bringing a species back from the brink of extinction." But critics of the law say that happens far too infrequently, and that's a big reason that many Republicans in the House of Representatives — led by Doc Hastings of Washington state — want to overhaul the 38-year-old law. Of the nearly 2,000 U.S. and foreign plant and animal species that the nation's endangered species law protects, only two dozen have "recovered" to the point where they could be taken off the endangered list, according to figures the Fish and Wildlife Service compiled. "That's a 1 percent recovery rate, and I firmly believe that we can do better," Hastings, the chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, said at a hearing of his committee earlier this month. When Hastings took control of the committee last January, he said that changing the law wasn't among his top priorities. But he's ready to take it on now, promising a series of hearings on the subject in 2012. Hastings may be entering dangerous territory: A former Republican chairman of the committee, Richard Pombo of California, tried hard to change the law, only to earn the enmity of environmentalists, who helped defeat him in 2006. Hastings said the Endangered Species Act — which Republican President Richard Nixon signed into law in 1973 — "is failing, and failing badly" in its efforts to recover endangered species. He noted that it hasn't been updated since 1988. While he has yet to outline specific changes he'll pursue, Hastings said: "I believe it's the responsibility of this committee and Congress to ask questions and examine if the original intent of this law is being carried out two decades later."...more