ESA Has Not Worked as Intended - The Missourian: Opinion

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ESA Has Not Worked as Intended

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Posted: Thursday, January 16, 2014 10:00 am

To The Editor:

The Wall Street Journal published a story a few weeks ago on how the Endangered Species Act has not worked as intended and has actually endangered the economic health of many communities — while creating a cottage industry of litigation that does more to enrich environmental activist groups than benefit the environment.

It sounded very familiar to what has also been happening on the Missouri River. It is pretty clear the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is causing hardships for people across the country. It seems to us, if our representatives from each area in the country negatively impacted by the United States Department of Interior and their heavy-handed use of the Endangered Species Act came together and pushed for ESA reform, some positive changes could take place.

It is high time Congress took a serious look at the ESA and the real burdens being placed on people and communities around the country. The Department of Interior and the United States Fish and Wildlife (USFWS) use the ESA to force other agencies throughout the federal government as well as state and local governments, to spend millions upon millions of dollars to meet their demands.

Often these demands from the Department of Interior and USFWS have no sound scientific base and even do harm to the very species they are trying to protect. We have seen this on the Missouri River with the implementation of a spring rise, which we found out later does nothing to aid the pallid sturgeon, and now with shallow water habitat projects, which independent scientists concur are not necessary for the pallid sturgeon to make its recovery. Yet the Corps of Engineers continues to spend millions on these projects.

The article points out Missouri is not alone. While the species and location may be different, the real economic suffering is very similar across the country. In these times of financial crisis in our federal government, we feel a new look at the ESA would uncover millions of dollars which could be saved and directed to much higher priorities throughout our government.

Our question then is why isn’t anything being done to change this problem? We have asked our Congressional delegation to please work to do something to start the reform process. We ask the public to do the same to try and stop this madness.

The members of the Missouri Levee and Drainage District Association look forward to your response and we stand ready to help you in this effort.

/opinion