The Endangered Species Act is running headfirst into the rights of landowners, farmers and mining companies, which want to extract resources.
At a hearing of the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works, Republican lawmakers discussed that the goal was to cut rules that impaired jobs as well as the development of natural resources. According to the Washington Post, the Interior Department under President Trump has delayed the start date of protections for the endangered rusty patched bumblebee, which has lost an estimated 90 percent of its population in the past two decades.
“As our committee explores the need to modernize the Endangered Species Act, I hope we can emulate the bipartisanship leadership that we had here on this committee and that the Western Governors Association has demonstrated in this Act.
“And when I talk about the bipartisanship in this committee, I hope we can replicate last year’s bipartisan success when the entire committee joined together, Republican and Democrat, to modernize the Toxic Substances Control Act, achieving the first major environmental reform in that area in roughly 40 years.” said Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), chair of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, in a statement.
According to a CNN report, Jamie Rappaport Clark, president and CEO of Defenders of Wildlife, told committee members that the act has saved the bald eagle and the Stellar sea lion from extinction, among others.
Farmers also testified. They said it was their duty to protect the land that feeds them and their family. But they told lawmakers that food production and protection of wildlife were often in conflict.
More than 1,600 species are listed as threatened or endangered, says the Washington Post. Since the act’s inception 40 years ago, only 50 have been taken off the list.
“We have got to amend it (the Endangered Species Act) in a way that protects the original goals but makes it so that it functions,” said former Gov. David Freudenthal (D-WY) befor the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.