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Congress must not pass Endangered Species reform bill

A bill designed to require a review of economic costs of adding a species to the endangered or threatened species list before doing so under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 was introduced in the House of Representatives. Reps. Michael Burgess, Louie Gohmert and Brian Babin, all Texas Republicans, co-sponsored H.R. 717, which was introduced Jan. 27 and referred to the House Natural Resources Committee. 

This bill is absurd.

{mosads}It is foolish to suggest that the experts making a decision to classify or not based on anything other than the data that will allow them to determine if it meets the definition. The definition per the Endangered Species Act is, “any species which is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range.” By definition, a species is endangered if those conditions are met, and is threatened if it is likely to meet those criteria within the foreseeable future. If a species meets the criteria as defined, it is endangered; it is endangered regardless of how convenient it is to any of us. Science cannot be dictated by politics or economics. 

Revising the Endangered Species Act as proposed is also impractical, and would introduce additional cost to carrying out the process of making a species determination. Currently, only after a species has been listed is a recovery plan created to map out a plan to save the species. To request that this process be undertaken prior to determining if a species even is endangered and thus determining if a plan is even needed at all, is a ludicrous waste of the very dollars the co-sponsors of this bill assuredly wish to save.

The economic cost of not protecting a species is left out of these economic equations, and is often difficult to predict or calculate. With any species proposed for the list, there are these “hidden” economic values to their existence. Every species plays a role in an ecosystem, and other species will be impacted by their loss. Ignoring what we do not know could have unexpected consequences.

The Endangered Species Act of 1973 is in danger of having its ability to protect wildlife stripped away. Our Congress must not pass H.R. 717 and must continue to stand for the preservation of the resources that we are responsible for stewarding responsibly.  Future generations depend on it.

From Sarah Willey, Florissant, Mo.

Pelosi’s hollow criticism of Trump

One notes the paradox of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), my congressional representative, opining about the pictures of the president being informed of the North Koreans launching an intercontinental missile test.

The president was in the midst of a reception for the Japanese prime minister at the Trump residence in Florida.

Pelosi was strangely silent when President Obama resumed a golf game in 2014 after being notified of the beheading of American journalist James Foley by ISIS. She was also mum about the recklessness of Hillary Rodham Clinton bypassing secure channels while conducting sensitive State Department affairs of the federal government.

Indeed, Pelosi herself went to the Middle East in order to confer with Middle East potentates as President George W. Bush was conducting foreign affairs. Perhaps the recent House caucus election challenge by Rep. Tim Ryan (Ohio) was a warning shot across the bow to Pelosi that even Democrats have had their fill of  San Fran Nan. Her critiques of Lieutenant General Flynn also have a hollow resonance.

From Mike McAdoo, San Francisco, Calif.

Tags Louie Gohmert Michael Burgess

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