Small Landowners and Species to Benefit from ESA Reform Approved by House

Contact: Ryan Balis or David Almasi at (202) 507-6398
For Release: September 30, 2005

Washington, D.C. - Yesterday supporters of the "Threatened and Endangered Species Recovery Act" (TESRA) in the House of Representative fended off a furious attack from green ideologues and approved the ESA reform measure.  The bill will provide much needed relief to small property owners across the nation who have shouldered the enormous burden of the ESA while increasing the likelihood that rare species will be recovered.

"We are pleased that at least one house of Congress now acknowledges the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution," declared David Ridenour, vice president of the National Center for Public Policy Research.  "Small landowners have suffered for too long under the iron fist of the ESA.  Rare species have, too."

A strong push by environmental pressure groups to deny American property owners their Fifth Amendment rights ultimately fell short.  The groups are now turning their focus to the Senate and liberal Senator Lincoln Chafee (R-RI), whose subcommittee would consider the measure.

"There is no joy in Greenville this morning," said Peyton Knight, director of the John P. McGovern MD Center for Environmental and Regulatory Affairs at the National Center.  "But the ball game is far from over, as environmental ideologues have vowed to fight tooth-and-nail to destroy any meaningful ESA reform in the Senate."

A key provision in the House bill would require the federal government to inform property owners within 180 days whether owner-proposed activities would harm species listed under the Endangered Species Act.

Another stipulation would provide 100 percent fair market value compensation to property owners who lose the productive use of their land due to endangered species regulations.

The American public is growing increasingly impatient with command-and-control type environmental regulations that devastate American families, farmers, ranchers, and small business owners.   

"Informing property owners whether a proposed use of their land is legal shouldn't be controversial, though this is abhorrent to elitists within the environmental community," said Ridenour.  "For over thirty years they've used the ESA to destroy small landowners, largely at their whim.  Meanwhile, their stated goal of recovering endangered species never materialized."

TESRA was approved 229-193. 

The current structure of the ESA creates a financial incentive for property owners to rid their land of any species habitat, which, predictably, has proven detrimental to species recovery efforts.

According to Knight, ░▀nobody wins under the current ESA.░«

For more information, contact Ryan Balis or David Almasi at (202) 507-6398.

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