An Endangered Act
The Endangered Species Act is itself endangered and destined for extinction if Republicans have their way. A draft proposal for emasculating the act is being developed by the Bush administration and would automatically take the Endangered Species Act off the books in 2015.
While perhaps in need of gradual evolutionary changes, the current plan seeks to turn down the thermostat on the law formerly known as the Endangered Species Act by degrees so that maybe we won't notice it dying a slow death. In the end, we will have returned back to a happy world where only man (and especially homo corporativum) is free to flourish without dealing with those useless inedible animals and plants that get in the way of office park development, dams and Super Walmarts.
Here (via Bootstrap Analysis where there are additional links) are some of the consequences of the proposed changes:
The proposed bill (nauseatingly titled the "Threatened and Endangered Species Recovery Act of 2005") would:
- Limit critical habitat to include only areas currently occupied by a listed species, rather than including potential habitat (needed for recovery) or historical range.
- Limit protection for threatened species until they become endangered.
- Lower the current standard of recovery to a standard of mere survival.
- Consider the protection of endangered species as a "taking," requiring the government to compensate land owners (read a rabid editorial on this topic calling the ESA a "reign of terror" by one of Pombo's cronies at the right-wing APC).
- Narrow the reach, potentially exempting many federal actions now subject to review.
- Create many new layers of bureaucracy and requires mountains of redundant paperwork, hobbling the Act's effectiveness with the resultant delays, costs, and potential lawsuits.
- Automatically end the Endangered Species Act in 2015.