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.
Monday, October 22, 2012
Little meshweaver brings San Antonio to a screeching stop
Just outside San Antonio, at the intersection of Look 1604 and Highway 151, the discovery of a single, dime-sized, translucent, subterranean spider has brought a $15 million traffic reduction project to a dead stop. Unfortunately for area motorists, the Bracken Cave meshweaver is one of more than 1,400 species regulated under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). “Regulated” is a far more appropriate term than “protected” when discussing the ESA, because the law has a terrible record of recovering animals and plants. Several dozen critters on the endangered list have been delisted or lowered in protection, but more often than not the action reflects either extinction or the discovery of more accurate information. The infamous snail darter exemplifies the latter situation. It was found to be much more abundant and widespread — after it had been used to halt construction of a half complete dam. Now comes the meshweaver. Texans have been told it’s only the second specimen of this meshweaver ever found. In reality, North America is home to thousands of kinds of spiders, and nobody knows how many kinds, never mind how many specimens of each. Consider this: Estimates of the western lowland gorilla population more than doubled this millennium, as more than 100,000 gorillas were discovered. Now consider how hard it would be to get an accurate census count of one species of itsy bitsy, underground spider. In reality, the ESA has become more about stopping things than saving things. This law, like many other environmental laws, is founded on the notion that people are a blight imperiling an incredibly delicate web of life. From the greens’ perspective, the government — preferably centralized, top down and run by technocrats — must insert itself between people and natural resources through regulation or ownership. It is a world view born of environmental neuroses...more