Endangered Species Act: Flawed Law - Few species saved; millions spent, thousands of jobs lost


T. R. Mader, Reseach Director
Abundant Wildlife Society of North America

We believe care and concern for the environment and our wildlife is
important. Due to that importance, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) was
passed into law with the best of intentions - to save endangered
species of animals and plants from extinction.

Unfortunately, it's had little success.

However, the ESA has become a most effective tool in the hands of the
preservationist and those intent on destroying the livelihoods of
millions of Americans.


> the desert tortoise is listed on the (ESA) when there are an
estimated 3 million tortoises in the desert and another 100,000 in

> government reports stated the decline of the desert tortoise was due
to raven predation? They stated, "Raven predation will be to the
extirpation [total extermination] of the tortoise population." The
Bureau of Land Management (BLM) decided to kill 1500 ravens. An
environmental group immediately sued the BLM. The BLM settled out of
court and agreed to kill only 56 ravens providing it could be shown
that the ravens killed were "habitually preying on tortoises."

> a pond weed, which was found on private land in Texas, was petitioned
for listing on the ESA without the knowledge of the land owner. U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) workers simply trespassed to conduct
their research studies.

> a snail prevented a retired veteran in Kanab, Utah from building a
recreational vehicle park and tourist site on his own property? The
FWS alleged an endangered snail (kanab amber snail) was found on his
property. An "emergency" listing of the snail was obtained. The
veteran was told he could not use his property and has no option but
to sell it to the government.

> shrimpers in the gulf coast states of Texas and Louisiana are being
harassed by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) over a non-
native sea turtle? Yes, that's right, the Kemp's Ridley sea turtle
does not nest in the United States, but in Mexico. Government
biologists bring the eggs to the U.S., hatch them in Texas and
release them in the Gulf of Mexico. The NMFS has conducted over 1,100
indiscriminate searches of shrimper's boats under the guise of turtle
protection. Not one turtle has been found on these boats. Fines for
not having a Turtle Excluding Device (TED) range from $8000 to $25,000.

> a $240 million ($240,000,000) dollar world class telescope was
stopped by a small squirrel? The University of Arizona wanted to
build this observatory on Mount Graham in southeastern Arizona, but
the Mount Graham red squirrel (genetically a common red squirrel) is
listed as endangered on the ESA. It was claimed that if the telescope
was built, the squirrel would become fixated with human activity,
forget to collect nuts and fall prey to the goshawk.

> the sockeye salmon is listed as endangered on the Colombia, Snake and
Salmon Rivers? This ESA listing affects 900 miles of rivers systems.
This recovery program will cost between $200 million and $1 billion
dollars in the next five years - a price to be paid by electricity
ratepayers, farmers, river operators and commercial fishermen.

> the Clarkea Australia, a small one to two inch high plant, has shut
down logging in parts of California? It's not because the plant is in
the logging areas per se, but because the jobs were located in areas
where the Forest Service said there "might" be Clarkea Australia. Mind you, this tenacious little plant will grow in skidder tracks,
but that doesn't matter.

> The USFWS spent over $102 million in fiscal year 1990 on threatened
and endangered species? The 10 species with the highest reported
expenditures were: northern spotted owl ($9.7 million); least bell's
vireo [small, green bird similar to the warbler] ($9.2 million);
grizzly bear ($5.9 million); red cockaded woodpecker ($5.2
million); Florida panther ($4.1 million); Mojave desert tortoise
($4.1 million); bald eagle ($3.5 million); ocelot ($3 million);
jaguarundi [slender, short-legged wildcat] ($2.9 million); American
Peregrine falcon (2.9 million). The highest costing bug was the
valley elderberry longhorn beetle ($952,000) and the highest plant
was the northern wild monkshood ($226,000). Note: These figures are
not the total cost, only what can be itemized by species.

> the snail darter, which was used to hold up construction of Tennessee
Valley Authority's (TVA) Tellico Dam, was known to exist in other
areas and yet the FWS listed it on the ESA, claiming it was nearly

> four trash fish in Colorado - the squawfish, two types of Chub and a
sucker, which, until a few years ago were poisoned by the USFWS, are
now listed on the ESA? Their recovery is estimated to cost $60
million dollars and impacts costs are over $650,000,000. Meanwhile,
in the state of Washington, anglers are paid $3 by the USFWS for
every squawfish caught that measures over 11 inches.

> two California condors were released in January 1992? What did
recovery cost? Nearly 30 years preparation and $25 million dollars!

> a Texas man killed an endangered whooping crane and was imprisoned
for six months and fined over $200,000?

> a Maryland couple could not prevent erosion to their home, which was
built on a 60 foot cliff overlooking Chesapeake Bay, because it might
harm a bug? That's right - the Puritan Tiger Beetle to be exact. An
official from the Maryland Natural Heritage Program stated that
protecting bug habitat was more important than protecting the
couple's home. A letter to the governor changed nothing, the beetle's
rights came first!

> a $100,000,000 golf course and resort complex was stopped by a
butterfly - the Oregon silverspot butterfly? A man sought to turn a
fenced cow pasture and an area strewn with beer cans and vehicle
tracks on the Oregon coast into a world class golf course. To help
save the butterfly, he met with USFWS personnel and even hired a
butterfly expert. To no avail. Construction could not be done unless
the man could guarantee he could build the golf course without
killing a single endangered silverspot butterfly.

> the USFWS wants to save hybrid animals? Examples are the dusky
seaside sparrow. When efforts (costing millions of dollars) failed to
save the sparrow, a hybrid program was tried. It failed. The red wolf
(a hybrid cross between the grey wolf and coyote) is another example.

> government officials designated 6.9 million acres of forest in the
Pacific Northwest to be set aside for the spotted owl? (Nine million
acres larger than the states of Massachusetts and Rhode Island
combined.) The government's estimate of job loss is 33,000 jobs.
Private sources say 60,000 jobs is more accurate. Additionally,
landowners of some three million acres in the Pacific Northwest were
told they could not harvest timber on their own land due to the presence
of the northern spotted owl, even though seven million acres of wilderness
already exists for the owl.

> an elderly couple in Georgia, needing money for medical expenses,
sought to sell timber on their private land only to be stopped by a
bird, the red cockaded woodpecker? No, the bird doesn't live on their
land, but FWS and Georgia Forestry Commission officials reportedly
found 17 trees with "possible" abandoned red cockaded woodpecker
nests. Nobody, including the FWS, has ever seen this woodpecker on
the property. And the family has lived there for 80 years.
Nonetheless, a temporary ban on timber harvest was imposed.

> the Colombia white-tailed deer has been listed as endangered for
years and millions have been spent on its recovery? Studies reveal
that the deer is "genetically a plain jane whitetail deer."

> the difference between the California spotted owl and northern
spotted owl? Neither do we! Both are genetically the same bird, yet
the northern spotted owl is listed as endangered.

> in spite of the best intentions and million upon millions of dollars
spent, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is a dismal failure, in terms
of species recovery?

> that of the 600 species listed on the ESA, over half are listed in
the eastern half of the U.S.? What does the future hold for the east?

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) has been used to:

1) Lock up vast areas of land from commodity use, i.e. the northern spotted
owl used to shut down timber harvest in the Pacific Northwest.

2) Deprive an individual of their constitutional right of protection of
private property, i.e. threat of $100,000 fine and mandatory prison
sentence for killing an endangered wolf killing ones' livestock.

3) Deprive one of their property without just compensation, i.e.
restriction on use and/or acquisition of land as critical habitat for
endangered species.

The following changes, in order to bring balance and to put the human
factor back into the ESA, are necessary:

1. Use only a biological and numerical definition of endangered

Biological Definition: Only pure species can be listed. No listing
based solely upon sub-species, distinct populations or hybridization.

Problem Example: In 1944, Stanley Young and Edward Goldman listed 24
sub-species of the gray wolf. Today biologists feel there are no more
than 5 sub-species of the gray wolf. Even these 5 sub-species should be
viewed with caution as the biologists cannot tell them apart. The same
can be said of the northern spotted owl and California spotted owl.

Numerical Definition: Only those species actually threatened with
extinction (very few animals) can be listed.

Problem Example: The gray wolf population of North America numbers
between 40,000 and 60,000 wolves. Due to national boundaries and
"distinct populations" listings, wolves in Alaska and Canada are not
considered in wolf population counts. Thus, the wolf, while in no
danger of extinction, is "endangered" throughout the continental U.S.,
with the exception of Minnesota where it is listed as threatened. The
same problem exists with bald eagles and grizzly bears (note: there are
over 40,000 grizzlies in North America).

2. The socio-economic impacts of a listing must be considered. The
current law makes no such consideration.

Problem Example: Land values in an area of Texas fell an estimated $300
million dollars due to an ESA listing of a songbird - the golden-cheeked

Also, the impacts of spotted owl listing on the timber industry in the
Pacific Northwest. The Wall Street Journal reported a 25% cost increase
in wood products which was directly related to the listing of the
spotted owl. Thus, the nation, not just loggers, are impacted by the
ESA listing of the spotted owl.

3. There must be just compensation on any taking of private property.
The constitutional rights of citizens must be protected.

4. Individuals must have the right to protect their livelihoods and
control endangered species threatening their livelihoods.

Problem Example: Endangered wolves, grizzly bears or eagles killing
livestock cannot be killed by the owner of the livestock. A federal
judge has ruled that a person does not have the constitutional right to
protect their property from an endangered species. In 1990, over 7,500
sheep and lambs were killed by eagles in the states of Wyoming, Montana
and Colorado alone.

5. The ESA must recognize that extinction is a normal part of the
natural evolutionary process. The fossil record makes this abundantly
clear. Failure to recognize this phenomena will result in wasting
expertise and money on recovery programs doomed to failure by this
natural process while people lose their jobs and go hungry.

6. Time and Expenditure limits must be placed on studies and recovery
plans. The American taxpayer is entitled to fiscal responsibility of
government agencies directed to saving endangered species.

Problem Example: In 1990, figures released on the Bosque Del Apache
Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico revealed that the whooping crane recovery
had more than one million ($1,000,000) in each bird.

7. Accountability must be required of government agencies charged with
saving endangered species. This is in two areas: 1) Standards must be
set for best scientific and commercial data. 2) Agency personnel must
work with the average citizen and not against them.

Prepared by: T. R. Mader, Reseach Director
Abundant Wildlife Society of North America

WE NEED YOUR HELP! The Endangered Species Act (ESA) is up for
reauthorization. Help spread the word! Photocopy this information and give it to your national and state legislators, friends, students, teachers, media people, game biologists, and others. Write articles and letters
to the editor and expose the problems with the Endangered Species Act
(ESA) and the need for change.

Is the ESA impacting your area? Write us with the information and we'll
will do it with your help.

different wildlife organization. ABUNDANT WILDLIFE SOCIETY OF NORTH
AMERICA advocates Conservation - the management of wildlife by man
instead of Environmentalism - the cyclic "balance of nature" also know
as feast and famine.


For more information, contact:
Abundant Wildlife Society of North America
PO Box 2
Beresford, SD 57004
(605) 751 - 0979


In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only. [Ref. http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml]

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