Friday, December 16, 2011

Big Green's endangered species money machine

Karen Budd-Falen is a fifth-generation rancher in Wyoming. She's also a strong-minded lawyer who tracks millions in legal fees paid to Big Green environmental groups by federal agencies in lawsuits to save endangered species -- and she makes the records public. They show that the Endangered Species Act has been hijacked by those same Big Green groups that use it in the courts as an ideological weapon against development -- and to enrich themselves. Stories of such things as wind farm projects thwarted by a field mouse are no longer uncommon, but investigations of how environmental lawyers turn the ESA into a private money machine are almost nonexistent. Budd-Falen has pioneered that niche with high-detail profiles. The government stopped compiling and releasing its legal cost information years ago. Budd-Falen's research revealed that the blackout has hidden hundreds of millions in legal costs, even some that don't result in attorney fee awards but fritter away agency conservation budgets. For example, a recent thorny ESA case required paperwork that cost more than $206 million. Budd-Falen's painstaking research is the only way to find out what American taxpayers are really paying the "environmental litigation industrial complex," as one wag calls it. "I'm concerned over the role federal court litigation has taken in directing the Endangered Species Act against economic activity. I show why oversight by Congress is needed," Budd-Falen explains. A substantial following of clients and interested citizens has taken up her call for congressional oversight. Her work came to the attention of House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., and inspired him to call a hearing titled "The Endangered Species Act: How Litigation is Costing Jobs and Impeding True Recovery Efforts" with Budd-Falen as lead witness...more


Anonymous said...

Elect Newt as POTUS and we will be rid of these worthless government agencies.

Frank DuBois said...

Apparently you aren't aware of his enviro leanings.