THE ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT:
ENVIRONMENTAL LEGISLATION COSTING THE U.S.A. BILLIONS
By Alan Caruba
Unfortunately, when the truth is revealed, the mainstream press often ignores it. For example, on April 14 of this year, the Pacific Legal Association, in association with the Property and Environmental Research Center (PERC), released a study that demonstrated the mind-boggling costs of the Endangered Species Act:
The PERC researchers based this finding on a December, 2003, FWS report to Congress, “Three-Year Summary of Federal and State Endangered Species Expenditures, Fiscal Years 1998-2000.” According to FWS, the federal and state expenditures totaled $610.3 million. PERC estimated the real costs to be as much as four times greater; more in the area of $2.4 billion. When you add in the private costs to those of government expenditures, the total “may easily reach or exceed $3.5 billion per year.”
There is something obscene about this, considering the many other priorities of our nation. In the Pacific Legal Foundation report, Emma T. Suarez, an attorney for the Foundation, said: “People have lost their jobs, businesses, homes, farms, and even their lives to protect plants, insects, and fish.” The report is the story of a government more committed to socalled endangered species than to its citizens and to the economy upon which government depends.
Indeed, the story of the entire environmentalist movement is about the steady degradation of the American economy and those of other nations around the world. The environmentalist movement is an attack on capitalism, an attack designed to thwart access to natural resources and to destroy agriculture, ranching, production of beneficial chemicals and pharmaceuticals, transportation, and every other element of the American economy.
The FWS report managed to omit critical information in its 2003 cost report.
Only “estimates” of costs to taxpayers, not actual costs, were provided.
The FWS report ignored government-wide costs, neatly skirting the many federal agencies and departments affected by the ESA reported expenditures and noting only costs that were “reasonably identifiable” for individual species. That’s a hole big enough to drive a truck through.
Costs to state and local entities for implementing species recovery were also ignored, along with those represented by ESA-caused interference with the building of schools, hospitals, roads, and other infrastructure projects. Also ignored were the costs to private landowners.
The PERC study, however, noted that “75% of all listed species have portions or all of their habitat on privately owned land and the FWS regulates 38 million acres of private land through conservation plans. Landowners are not compensated for their losses from ESA regulations that prohibit them from using their land productively.” These costs are enormous.
It is little wonder that the costs of housing, old and new, are soaring. ESA regulations are widely used to deter the creation of new housing stock, despite the obvious housing needs of a rapidly growing population.
The other economic and social costs from regulatory burdens placed on agricultural production, water use, forest management, and mineral extraction were not included in the FWS report. If they were, the public would be in the streets demanding an end to ESA.
The FSW report did not take into consideration lost jobs, lost business, and lost tax revenues. If it did, the ESA would be rescinded within days.
One important example of omissions in the FSW report was failure to mention anything regarding the tremendous economic loss caused by the hoax about the “endangered” northern spotted owl. According to the PERC study,
Moreover, the federal government was estimated to have lost about $2.3 million in revenue, as a result of the ESA-mandated water restrictions.
The Endangered Species Act has proven to be an expensive and destructive failure. Despite listing 1,260 U.S. species, as of December, 2003, only fifteen were “delisted” and those mainly because the original data citing them as endangered proved to be inaccurate!
Environmentalism is not about caring for the needs of human beings or our nation’s economy. It is just the opposite. It is not some benign movement, but rather a malignant cancer that destroys lives, jobs, and the quintessential basis of our economy, the rights of private property owners.
Easily, 90% or more of all the species that ever existed on earth are extinct. It’s called survival of the fittest and has been going on since life on earth began. It is worse than conceit to think that government can “save” a few species; it is an arrogant and dangerous notion that seeks to replace the process of nature with the goals of the environmentalists
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