Thursday, September 13, 2018

Push to change wildlife act sparks lobbying blitz

Action in Congress and the Trump administration to overhaul the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is spurring a lobbying frenzy. Industries that have long sought to reduce the compliance burden of protecting imperiled animal and plants species are seizing a rare moment with a Republican Congress and White House that are sympathetic to their cause. “This is an extremely important time, because the opportunity is there to make changes,” said Richard Pombo, a lobbyist and former congressman from California who led the last major effort, in 2005, to comprehensively change the ESA. His measure passed the House, but not the Senate, and he lost reelection 2006, due in part to those efforts. “It’s probably the best we’ll have in terms of Congress and an administration willing to make changes that in previous years were much more difficult,” he said. Meanwhile, conservationists who see the GOP efforts as a threat to bedrock environmental protections are also mobilizing, betting that the public will be put-off enough by the proposals that decisionmakers will be pressured to drop them. “The good news is that the overwhelming majority of Americans support the Endangered Species Act, so our main objective is to educate the American public and mobilize the strong base of national support that exists for protecting the Endangered Species Act,” said Robert Dewey, vice president for government relations at Defenders of Wildlife..MORE

I guess I'm just in one of those moods today, but I predict they will do nothing on the ESA, nothing to change how monuments are designated, nothing to bring reasonableness to NEPA. or anything else of substance. They may lose one or both houses of congress, but even if they don't, they will have slimmer majorities to try to pass meaningful legislation. They've had a two-year window of opportunity and done next to nothing.

I do predict, however, they will pass their increased funding for federal lands, probably by sticking it in some last minute, must pass spending bill.

I hope I'm wrong on both counts.

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