LANDOWNERS' COALITION DEMANDS REPEAL OF ESA
By Tom DeWeese, Dan Byfield, & Magaret Hage Byfield
The letter is being delivered to U.S. Senator James Inhofe (Republican - Oklahoma), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. His committee will soon consider legislation to “update” and “improve” the ESA.
The U.S. House of Representatives has already passed the Threatened and Endangered Species Recovery Act (TESRA). The U.S. Senate is considering a bill sponsored by Senator Mike Crapo (Republican - Idaho) called the Collaboration and Recovery of Endangered Species Act (CRESA). While the House version makes at least a weak attempt to compensate landowners when the ESA is invoked, the Senate version offers nothing for them. Both bills confirm the worst fears of landowners about how serious Congress is to actually addressing the real problems of the ESA.
Since its enactment in 1973, the ESA has penalized landowners unlucky enough to have an endangered species on their land. Farmers, ranchers, tree farmers, homeowners, and others who harbor endangered species or habitat on their property are subjected to severe land-use restrictions that can lead to economic ruin.
“Rather than a solution to helping endangered species, the ESA has become a very powerful tool, used by radical environmentalists who want to stop literally any use of certain lands for any purpose,” said Dan Byfield, President of the American Land Foundation of Taylor, Texas. “The entire community of Klamath Falls, Oregon, was literally chocked to death, as its water supply was shut off to protect a sucker fish that isn’t endangered,” said Byfield.
Yet, as Coalition leaders point out, all of the pain caused by the ESA to landowners is really for nothing, as far as endangered species are concerned. “In the 33 years since the ESA has been on the books, just 34 of the nearly 1,300 U.S. species listed have made their way off of the endangered list,” said Margaret Hage Byfield, Executive Director of Stewards of the Range based in Idaho. “Of this number,” she continued, “9 species are now extinct, 14 appear to have been improperly listed in the first place, and just 9 (.6% of all species listed) have recovered.” Concluded Hage, “that’s a 99% failure rate that proves the ESA is nothing more than a powerful tool for special interests groups to promote their political agenda.”
These are the reasons why the coalition is calling for outright repeal of the ESA. “There is only one valid answer to this outrageous situation,” said Tom DeWeese, President of the American Policy Center, Warrenton, Virginia. The answer: “Repeal the ESA and, if necessary, start over.”
To that end, the coalition has generated more than 6,300 signatures for the letter to Senator Inhofe to demand repeal of the ESA . These signatures aren’t from members of rich and powerful lobbying groups. They are from the landowners, business owners, and community leaders who are suffering from the ESA.
In part, the letter says:
Appealing to the U.S. Congress to take a stand for property owners, Dan Byfield said:
“In this day when Americans have come to understand the horrors of widespread government abuse of eminent domain, such as in the U.S. Supreme Court’s Kelo decision, we should rightly fear the creation of a new ESA that could best be called Kelo 2,” concluded Tom DeWeese.
The coalition maintains an Internet website at www.repealesa.us, where the full letter may be viewed and signed.
The foregoing website states:
Civil Liberties -- Private Property Rights
Tom DeWeese is the Publisher and Editor of The DeWeese Report and President of the American Policy Center, a grassroots activist think tank headquartered in Warrenton, Virginia. The Center maintains an Internet website at www.americanpolicy.org.
Dan Byfield is Founder and President of the American Land Foundation, a private non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of American constitutional principles, free enterprise, private property rights, and individual liberty.
Mr. Byfield is the writer and producer of two television video productions documenting the effects of environmental laws on individual freedoms and uses of land in the U.S.A. The videos are (1) "Who Owns the Land? When the Environment Collides with the Constitution" and (2) "Standing Ground: People, Property, and Power." Both have been shown on national cable TV, including PBS, receiving a communications award for effectiveness.
Byfield is also President of Liberty Matters, a grassroots news service and informational network dedicated to protecting the constitutional principles of America's Founding Fathers.
Dan Byfield is a graduate of the University of Texas, where he earned a journalism degree with a specialization in public relations, and has a law degree from South Texas College of Law in Houston.
Margaret Hage Byfield is Executive Director of Stewards of the Range, a national property and constitutional rights organization headquartered in Boise, Idaho. Under her leadership and direction, Stewards of the Range has grown from a small grassroots group into an influential national organization with over 6,000 members.
Ms. Byfield recently helped launch the Natural Rights Library, a property rights resource catalogue. She serves as Editor of Cornerstone, a national newspaper on property rights.
Formally educated at Albertson's College of Idaho, Ms. Byfield received a Bachelor of Arts in English and Music in 1989.
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