PLAYING GOD WITH "ENDANGERED" SPECIES
By Alan Caruba
The White House executive order would eliminate the need for the advice of government scientists and permit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service of the Department of the Interior and NOAA Fisheries of the Department of Commerce to determine whether to list or de-list an alleged endangered or threatened species.
Here’s an example of why this decision was issued. In an effort to ensure that no exploration or drilling for oil could occur anywhere in the habitat of the polar bear, this species was put forward for listing as “endangered,” even though its population has been growing steadily since the 1950s.
The reason cited, however, involved the projection of melting sea ice over the course of the next fifty years, resulting from global warming. That’s right. A perfectly fine population of polar bears that have been around for millions of years is deemed “endangered,” based on computer models for something that is not happening. As Interior Secretary Dick Kempthorne delicately put it, “It is not possible to draw a link between greenhouse gas emissions and distant observations of impacts on species.”
Well, no. It is possible, if you are a government scientist with lots of time on your hands, a commitment to the idiotic and discredited notion of global warming, and a need to justify your existence. Or, dare I say, your survival?
The Earth is not warming. It has been cooling for a decade, and many scientists have concluded that the Earth is heading into either another mini-Ice Age or a full-scale one that will pretty much ruin everyone’s plans for anywhere between the next fifty years and the next few thousand years.
Let’s get to the nitty-gritty of the Endangered Species Act. Originally adopted in 1973, the framers of the Act wanted to protect species believed to be on the brink of extinction. This is a noble idea, but 99% of all species that have existed on Earth are extinct. At some point or other, Nature steps in to kill them off. This is why there are no dinosaurs around, except in Steven Speilberg movies and animated documentaries.
Despite ample evidence that the Act is a great waste of time and money, Congress has been funding the ESA ever since the first 109 species were listed.
According to the National Endangered Species Act Reform Coalition, there are, these days, approximately 1,300 species on the list, with another 250 considered as “candidates” for listing and another nearly 4,000 species designated as “Species of Concern.”
The ESA is testimony to the way stupid legislation, once it is passed, not only continues, but expands to ensure that government jobs and power do the same.
The website of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service provides six pages of small print listings of species put forth as “threatened” or “endangered.” You will find that 120 were deemed to lack standing because, as often as not, there was “insufficient data” to demonstrate any threat existed or it was determined that there were plenty of the critters. Others were believed to have gone extinct just as Nature intended.
Another USFWS page lists 21 species as “recovered” since 1978 and 9 as “extinct.” In order words, over its glorious 30-year history, the Act claims justification for the expenditure of millions of taxpayer dollars for less than one species per year of its existence. The same page lists 16 species that should never have been listed in the first place -- because of lack of sufficient data -- and thus were “de-listed.”
There is probably no way of knowing how many thousands of hours were wasted adjudicating these proposed listings, but, if your job as a government scientist depends on such foolishness, you can bet it cost the taxpayers a bundle.
Here’s the kicker. The ESA officially expired on October 1, 1992. Congress has continued to fund it for sixteen years!
This is legislation that Senator Barack Obama claims should continue, despite an abysmal record of performance and lacking any rational justification for its existence. Where is it written in the U.S. Constitution that the central government should undertake to save any species?
Other than preserving the Bald Eagle from idiot hunters, what purpose was served in saving tree frogs, shrews, doves, and other species from presumed extinction?
The intended consequences of the Endangered Species Act have been the delay or loss of needed dams, highways, hospitals, energy projects, and entire subdivisions of new housing for the nation’s growing human population. When some group of “concerned citizens,” i.e., an environmentalist group, secures a listing of some obscure species as an "endangered" species, the process mandated by the ESA ensures that progress toward some project or endeavor beneficial to humans will be slowed or prevented.
The most endangered thing about the ESA is common sense and the humility to stand aside and let Nature do what it has done for millennia.
The Earth's Natural History, Global Climate Changes,
& the Future of Human Life & Civilization on the Planet:
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Alan Caruba is a veteran business and science writer, a Public Relations Counselor, and Founder of the National Anxiety Center, a clearinghouse for information about media-driven scare campaigns. Caruba writes a weekly commentary, "Warning Signs," posted on the Internet website of the National Anxiety Center, which is located at www.anxietycenter.com.
Caruba has a daily blog at http://factsnotfantasy.blogspot.com.
Caruba’s new book, Right Answers: Separating Fact from Fantasy, has been published by Merril Press.
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