Endangered Species Act Should Not Be Used to Ban Humans from Environment

CNS: A case filed recently in a Texas federal district court, General Land Office of the State of Texas v. U.S. Department of the Interior, takes the government to task for misusing the federal Endangered Species Act, known as the ESA.  The case involves a protected species known as the golden-cheeked warbler, which is prevalent throughout Central Texas, where the plaintiff, the Texas General Land Office, is a major property owner.  While focusing on protecting the warbler, the federal government has ignored the quality of the surrounding human environment and unduly interfered with the Texas General Land Office’s rights to use its property.

Under current practice, the Fish and Wildlife Service of the U.S. Interior Department designates species as either “endangered” or “threatened” based solely upon a head count of the number of individual critters of any given species observed in the environment, without considering the economic or other impacts of protecting the species. The United States Supreme Court famously set the legal standard in the 1970s by ruling that species must be protected “whatever the cost.”  That’s not a typo.  And it’s no joke.

Once a species is listed by the government, the ESA makes it unlawful to “take” the species, which is defined as any action to “harass, harm, pursue, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or attempt to engage in any such conduct.”  While “kill” and “trap” are readily understandable terms, the terms “harass” and “harm” are not.  What does it mean to “harass” a turtle?  What actions can “harm” a squirrel?  Those are ontological standards not legal ones.  more

9 Comments on Endangered Species Act Should Not Be Used to Ban Humans from Environment

  1. Here we go again with over burdensome federal law. All states should reject and refuse any and all federal laws, decrees, bans, agencies, rules, etc.
    Something to do with the Constitution, as I recall.

  2. Solar farms. Same thing. They fry every precious creature that enters the area.

    As one golden-cheeked warbler to another, ya know, I think I can fend for myself.

    It’s up to you to figure out which of my 4 cheeks are golden.

  3. Time for open season in Florida on alligators.

    They were never “endangered”, just an early assertion of Federal overreach. Deprive humans of the right to protect themselves and family, even inside their own dwellings, from
    Jurassic predator reptiles and you’ve clearly asserted dominance of the Feds over “little people”.
    Each female lays 30 viable eggs per batch. They’re more fertile than Tribbles.

  4. The ESA needs a serious rethinking, and overhaul. However well intended, the law has a huge number of perverse and ridiculous outcomes and can stop reasonable, profitable, pleasureable developments b/c of some obscure species of gnat or mosquito. The operations of the entire Missouri R dam and reservoir system must accommodate 2 bird and 1 fish species; the writers of the law back in early 70s never envisioned such things.

  5. Try getting an exemption for the thousands of birds and bats your wind turbines or solar farms kill annually if you are not politically connected. Neither of these power sources are profitable or sustainable without huge government subsidies. If the ESA was applied to these boondoggles, none of them would ever get built.

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