Friday, September 30, 2005

Endangered Species Act Gutted

The House of Representatives has passed a bill that weaken the Endangered Species Act substantially. Among other things, it would require payments by the federal government when endangered species stop intended development. It also would place political appointees instead of scientists in charge of determining when a species is endangered. I expect that both of these measures will basically stop further species from being listed as endangered or threatened. Given what happened with the sage grouse earlier this year, I think we know what to expect from political appointees. The bill now goes to the Senate where the committee overseeing the legislation is chaired by Lincoln Chafee (R-RI). Chafee has a reputation as a liberal, but when push comes to shove he usually gets shoved, so I am not too hopeful about what the results will be.