Pombo Pledges Meaningful Endangered Species Reform
Pledging to fight for meaningful reform of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), House Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo (R-Calif.) on April 13 told home builders that he would be working to move a bill through the House this year and working with his colleagues in the Senate on a bill that the Senate can pass in order to get legislation that “we can put on the President’s desk.”
Addressing a packed auditorium of several hundred builders at the Wardman Park Marriott Hotel in Washington, D.C. shortly before they embarked to Capitol Hill to meet with their lawmakers as part of NAHB’s annual Legislative Conference, Pombo said that the current statute is not doing its job.
“Listing species as endangered or threatened isn’t doing anything to recover them,” he said, noting that of the roughly 1,300 species listed under the act, “less than 10 have been removed or recovered.”
“What we’re doing now isn’t working,” he said. “We need to design an act that does a better job of recovering species.”
The chairman noted the difficulties experienced by builders and developers as a result of the burdensome and costly critical habitat designation process, and he indicated that improvements to that process wil be considered as part of ESA reform efforts by this Congress.
“Best available science doesn’t mean good or accurate science,” said Pombo. “The ESA differs from other federal regulations and laws, which require more stringent, peer-reviewed science. We need to have science that means something. If a species listing is based on faulty data, we can’t know how to recover it. We need to raise the bar on the science used to make those decisions.”
Earlier this year, Pombo and Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) held a Capitol Hill news conference with Sens. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Lincoln Chafee (R-R.I.), pledging to work with their Senate colleagues to seek a new, coordinated House-Senate approach to improve and update the Endangered Species Act.
The nation’s home builders support this effort and are urging lawmakers to include H.R. 1299, the “Critical Habitat Enhancement Act of 2005,” in any broader Endangered Species Act reform bill that moves through the House and Senate in the 109th Congress.
To read this legislation, click here and enter H.R. 1299 in the box at the upper left.
For more information, e-mail Michael Strauss, or call him at 800-368-5242 x8252.
Photo by Herman Farrer