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Resources Committee Sends Endangered Species Reform Bill to the House Floor

The House Committee on Resources overwhelmingly approved the Threatened and Endangered Species Recovery Act (TESRA) of 2005 by a vote of 26-12 on Thursday, just four days after it was introduced. The measure, several years in the making, was backed by a bipartisan coalition led by Resources Committee Chairman Richard W. Pombo (R-CA), Reps. Dennis Cardoza (D-CA), Greg Walden (R-OR) and George Radanovich (R-CA).

The legislation to reform the 32-year old endangered species law was expected to go to the floor of the House this week. Supporters, including land owners and land users such as the oil and gas industry, claim the original endangered species measure needs fixing because it has failed to actually protect the endangered species while imposing burdensome regulations on land use.

TESRA (H.R. 3824) would provide focus, incentives and accountability, as well as strengthening scientific standards, creating bigger roles for state and local governments, protecting private property owners and eliminating dysfunctional critical habitat designations, the supporters said at a news briefing in California when the bill was introduced last Monday (see Daily GPI, Sept. 20).

"After three decades of implementation, the ESA [Endangered Species Act] has only recovered 10 of the roughly 1,300 species on its list," Pombo said. "What it has done instead is create conflict, bureaucracy and rampant litigation. It's time to do better. Without meaningful improvements, the ESA will remain a failed managed care program that checks species in but never checks them out. This bill will remove the impediments to cooperation that have prevented us from achieving real results for species recovery in the last 30 years."

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