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Daily News Archive
From September 30, 2005                                                                                                           

House of Representatives Guts Endangered Species Act
(Beyond Pesticides, September 30, 2005)
Congress dealt a deadly blow to the protections provided by the Endangered Species Act by passing Congressman Pombo’s bill weakening this important conservation law. Many of the Act’s most important protections for plants and animals facing extinction were eliminated by the House’s action and new loopholes were created to allow developers and pesticide applicators to dodge the law.

“The Pombo bill is the dream of every irresponsible developer out there,” said Defenders of Wildlife President Rodger Schlickeisen. “Not only does this bill gut the Endangered Species Act, but it creates a government give away program to greedy developers and provides new loop holes to make it easier to use deadly pesticides that will impact not only wildlife but our children, by polluting our lands and waters. Mr. Pombo’s bill undermines our national commitment to the recovery of threatened and endangered plants and animals.”

In a fatal weakening of the Endangered Species Act, this bill:

  • exempts all pesticide decisions from ESA compliance, taking away the ability under the ESA to stop pesticide use even when necessary to prevent extinction;
  • replaces the current mandatory critical habitat system with a system of purported recovery plans that are discretionary and fail to protect habitat essential for recovery;
  • allows federal agencies to avoid consultation, resulting in agencies with little to no experience in wildlife issues deciding if projects will harm wildlife;
  • requires the federal government to use taxpayer dollars to pay developers for complying with the law, setting no limits on these payments.

“Our children will pay the ultimate price for Mr. Pombo’s reckless disregard for the conservation of our nation’s wildlife,” said Mr. Schlickeisen. “Normally, one would look to the Senate to right the wrongs of this bill, but it is questionable as to whether this bill can be salvaged at all.”

For more information see Beyond Pesticides’ September 27th action alert.