December 19, 2011
by Senator Doug Whitsett
Oregon State Senator,
“Extreme preservationist groups are routinely using the provisions of the Act to enrich their own coffers while forcing the exclusion of human activity and destroying private property rights. The good news is that Congress is finally attempting to take action. As Chair of the powerful Committee on Natural Resources, Washington Congressman “Doc” Hastings has scheduled a series of hearings on these Endangered Species Act issues.”
The Endangered Species Act was intended to identify animal and plant life that is determined to be in peril of extinction and to recover those species. This original purpose was and remains a laudable goal. However, the Act has two fundamental flaws.
The first is that no economic considerations are permitted to be included as part of the determination in listing the species. The second provides that prevailing plaintiffs are entitled to recover their attorney fees and costs but they are not required to pay the costs if the government prevails. These provisions have allowed the intent, implementation and outcomes of the Act to be hijacked to serve the greed and exploitation of preservationist factions both inside and outside of government agencies.
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