Thursday, December 09, 2010

Western governors call Endangered Species Act 'nonsensical'

The Endangered Species Act is a "nonsensical" policy that hurts businesses, property owners and farmers to protect animals and plants that may not be at risk, a panel of Democratic and Republican governors from throughout the West said today. The governors complained of having their hands tied by federal policy as animal populations described as thriving but listed as endangered ravage private ranches, state parks and golf courses. "The frustration level is reaching the breaking point in many levels because of this act," said Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert. "It's nonsensical." On the panel, the Republican governor griped about protecting Utah prairie dogs digging into golf courses. "They have become so domesticated, they are just a pain," he said. The discussion about overhauling the Endangered Species Act came on the second day of a two-day conference of the Western Governors Association. State executives from 19 states, plus the U.S. territories of Guam, American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands, were invited to attend. Hunters and ranches, a powerful constituency in the West, have called for delisting recovering populations of certain species such as gray wolves and grizzlies, complaining that the policy affects the value and sovereignty of their land and threatens livestock. Western governors claim states, not federal regulators, should have authority over native species that affect local habitats and create business hurdles...more

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