Helping Protect Endangered Species

In Idaho and throughout the nation, we realize the critical need to preserve nature and the thousands of endangered species for future generations. Over thirty years ago, Congress passed the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to help recover threatened species. However, after three decades, we have not seen the desired outcome – nearly 1,300 species have been added to the list of threatened or endangered species and none have been recovered by the work of the ESA alone.

The need for a new approach is evident. On Wednesday, I introduced legislation, the Endangered Species Recovery Act of 2006 (ESRA), to provide financial incentives for private landowners to help recover endangered species. Widely supported by environmental and private property groups, this bill is a bipartisan and collaborate effort to save vulnerable wildlife from extinction while recognizing private property values.

An issue like this demands cooperation on many levels. Over eighty percent of endangered wildlife lives on private property. By providing tax benefits, this legislation encourages landowners to get involved in critical conservation efforts. This is a commonsense approach that works – providing financial and procedural incentives for tangible results.

The bill will be referred to the Senate Finance Committee and is cosponsored by Senators Blanche Lincoln (D-AK), Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Max Baucus (D-MT), who is the incoming chairman of the committee. With this year’s session rapidly coming to a close, I will look forward to continuing efforts in the upcoming Congress to move the ESRA to passage, and I am grateful for all the hard work and collaboration that this bill represents.

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