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Update [2005-9-29 9:35:41 by jalefkowit]: Title updated to reflect the fact that tomorrow is now today...

If you care about protecting endangered species, you should mark tomorrow on your calendar. Because tomorrow is the day the House is voting on HR 3824 -- and if that bill becomes law, you can kiss the protections provided by the Endangered Species Act goodbye.

Details and what you can do about it on the flip.

HR 3824 is titled the "Threatened and Endangered Species Recovery Act of 2005". That's a misleading title, though. A better name for it would be the "Congressman Richard Pombo Hates the Endangered Species Act Act of 2005."

See, Rep. Pombo (R-CA-11) is the chairman of the Resources Committee, which oversees much of American conservation policy. And it's a bit of an understatement to say that he doesn't like the Endangered Species Act. To Pombo, the ESA is a failure -- and it gets in the way of developers and other special interests.

So last week, he came gunning for it. He introduced this bill into his committee, then proceeded to ram it through -- the committee voted on it a week after it was introduced -- and now he's got it on the calendar to be voted by the full House tomorrow.

So why should you care? Here's why. The Pombo bill has some seriously bad provisions in it for endangered species protection. To wit, it:

  • Politicizes the use of science in decision making. Currently, the government has to follow the best available scientific and commercial data when making decisions about protecting endangered species. Under the Pombo bill, the power to determine what the "best available" science is will be given to a political appointee -- the Secretary of the Interior. Science should be done by scientists, not politicians.
  • Repeals the protection of critical habitat. One thing we know about helping populations of endangered species recover is that you have to ensure they have a safe habitat -- not just enough to support the numbers that are there today, but enough to support a healthy, recovered population. The ESA, therefore, protects not only endangered species but also the "critical habitat" they need to recover. Pombo's bill straight up repeals the critical habitat provision of the ESA, so species could be "protected" and still have no place to live and breed. Bad idea.

  • Eliminates the need to "look before you leap". Currently, if you want to do a project that could impact an endangered species, you have to consult with the government first to ensure that your project won't cause damage to that species. In other words, you have to look before you leap. Pombo's bill lets developers get around this by empowering the Secretary of the Interior to designate (unspecified) "alternative consultation procedures" for any type of project he or she wishes. So the Secretary can essentially set aside the ESA at will and replace it with any review process they wish -- including ones where the "review" would barely merit the name.
  • Pays Developers to Follow the Law. Let's say you're a developer, and it's determined that your project will impact an endangered species, so the government tells you to set aside 20 acres as undeveloped habitat. Currently, the developer bears the cost of this. Under the Pombo Bill, though, the government not only pays the developer for the land, but it goes a step further and pays him or her for any profits they forego by not developing on that land. And who determines what profits they are foregoing? Why, the developer, of course!

I could go on, but I won't. Suffice it to say that for those of us that believe that the ESA is one of the true successes of American conservation law, the Pombo bill is Very Bad indeed. And tomorrow the House will either pass it or smack it down.

Help Smack It Down

Endangered species could sure use your help today. The best thing you can do to help is call your Representative and tell them to vote "No" on HR 3824 tomorrow, and to support continuing strong protections for endangered species. If you don't know who your Representative is, we have an online form on our Oceana action center where you can look that up.

Once you know who your Rep is, just call the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and have them put you through to his or her office so you can leave your message.

Sea turtles, humpback whales, and other endangered species need our protection to recover. We should be standing up for them, not rolling over for wealthy developers and special interests. If you agree with that, call your Representative today and help out!

... and the nation's op-ed pages agree:

LA Times:

"GIVEN HIS REPUTATION as the biggest critic in Congress of the Endangered Species Act, it's hardly surprising that Rep. Richard W. Pombo (R-Tracy) would introduce legislation to weaken the nation's efforts to preserve rare plants and animals. What is surprising, and unacceptable, is that the House so far appears willing to rush it toward a vote without meaningful debate or analysis."

San Francisco Chronicle:

Pombo hatchets the heart of the present rules. Scientific evidence for declaring a species at risk of extinction is dumbed down via a change that puts decision-making on biological evidence in the hands of the politically appointed secretary of the interior, not a panel of experts.

Pombo's measure also takes away a requirement that habitat be set aside to preserve the dwindling wildlife, even if it disrupts development, timber cuts or cattle grazing. In its place are weaker, voluntary controls on such activities. It's a gift to landowners.

Sarasota Herald Tribune:

Florida's congressional delegation must oppose the attempt by Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Calif., to "modernize" the Endangered Species Act. A bill that Pombo pushed through the House Resources Committee, which he chairs, would emasculate the act -- not improve it.

Newark Star-Ledger:

The Pombo bill would weaken protections for habitat, the land and water areas that are crucial for species' survival. Developers could speed ahead with construction, no matter what the wildlife consequences, if the federal Fish and Wildlife Service fails to answer certain scientific questions within 90 days. This deadline is deliberately impossible.

Philadelphia Inquirer:

[L]legislation proposed by Rep. Richard Pombo (R., Calif.), who says he wants to bring the act out of the age of "leisure suits, mood rings and pet rocks," isn't the answer. Initially, Pombo planned to phase out protections altogether by 2015. His latest rewrite, though tamer, will benefit Homo sapiens more than any plant or animal. The House is expected to vote tomorrow on his sweeping revisions.

Pombo has been itching to rewrite the Endangered Species Act since 1996, when he coauthored a book called This Land is Our Land: How to End the War on Private Property. It contends that the act and other environmental laws interfere with property rights. But that rarely happens.

Pombo's fix overcompensates in favor of people by eliminating key habitat, science and oversight provisions that have saved plants and animals for three decades.

Who's Against It?

Shoulda posted this originally, sorry -- here's a link to the letter signed by 78 (!!!) conservation organizations against the Pombo bill. Naturally, we at Oceana are among them...

Originally posted to jalefkowit on Wed Sep 28, 2005 at 11:19 AM PDT.


Endangered Species deserve...

94%446 votes
5%28 votes

| 474 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Good diary (3.66)
    Well, not sure how I feel about the last bit you mentioned -- about compensating developers -- because who knows, that might lead to more developers following the law and actually getting land set aside (even if that's on the gov'ts dime).

    But the rest of this is clearly abhorable, and the sneakiness and haste with which the bill is being shuttled through the House shows how dangerous it is.

    Any idea where Sierra Club, WWF, Nature Conservatory stand on this? Or rather, since I know where they'd stand, is there an organized effort against the bill yet or has it all happened too quickly?

    •  I'll start my own development company (4.00)
      I'll just buy critical habitat, then not develop it and get paid. I will make a fortune in taxpayer money and never have to actually build anything.

      And if you aren't picking up on the snark, my hypothetical career move explains why this idea is so bad.

      Many possibilities are open to you - work a little harder.

      by Rainman on Wed Sep 28, 2005 at 11:28:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well... (none)
        ...Then we've got an undeveloped habitat PLUS a gov't sponsored undevelopable plot of land. So, that doesn't sound too bad, actually. I just have to say I don't mind gov't expenditures when it comes to buying up vulnerable habitats like wetlands.
        •  You're missing the stinger (4.00)

          You're missing the stinger in that "takings" provision.

          It doesn't just pay the developer for the land. It pays them for foregone profits from not developing the land, too.

          Which raises the obvious question -- who knows how much profit you would make off that land? If you're building a resort hotel in a swamp, would you ever have profited from that?

          The Pombo bill's answer to this question is -- just ask the developer, they'll tell you what the "lost" profits would be.

          Right. Because the developer has no incentive at all to skew that estimate, right? Since it's what determines how much money they get and all...

          Jason Lefkowitz is the E-Activism Manager of Oceana.

          by jalefkowit on Wed Sep 28, 2005 at 11:42:59 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Right-o! (4.00)
            And by the way - I'd be developing, or not developing as the case would be, CASINOS. Yep, billions I should've been making, but instead I'll save this 'worthless' wetland for some birds and 'gators. Gee, aren't I swell. Now where's my check?

            Many possibilities are open to you - work a little harder.

            by Rainman on Wed Sep 28, 2005 at 12:16:43 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  frankly (4.00)
            IMHO there's nothing wrong with giving business incentives to develop ecologically friendly.  i'm with addison on that one.

            i don't know if it's practical.

            now letting the developer determine the value is crap.

            to me this sounds like their is some group (developers) that asked for this provision.  follow the money trail.

            also, THANKS to the author for the diary.  i'd suggest we delay (pun) the Delay indictment party & concentrate on this.

            & since I LIVE in Delay's district & am willing to do that, then you guys sure as hell can!  ;-)

            •  This isn't encouraging eco-friendly development... (none)
              ... not by a long shot.  It's telling developers they'll get paid for not developing property.  Why would they buy property they couldn't develop if the laws against it were stronger?  Instead, this asshat Congress and WH would rather pave paradise and put up the parking lots... or pay their buddies extra money when they can't develop the wetlands they shouldn't have been allowed to buy in the first place.
              It's circular, a bit, but that's the M.O. of these Rethug EcoTerrorists.

              Many possibilities are open to you - work a little harder.

              by Rainman on Wed Sep 28, 2005 at 01:27:19 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  that's what i see also (none)
                in this case.  like i said.  follow the money trail & you'll see who's trying to buy what would otherwise be economically useless land.

                in general though, we stand to make environmental protection stronger if we can figure out how to get business on our side.

                you'd think with the economic damage Katrina & Rita did, they'd take environmental policy (in this case, global warming) more seriously.

                •  they're too busy cleaning up... (none)
                  ... on government handouts! <snark!>

                  Seriously, though. Not sure, given our long history of business VERSUS environment, that there is much of a solution beyond legislation to make business more eco-friendly.  There are a few little hopeful pushes out there, mostly linked to consumer interest - in "green" cars, for example.  We've been trying for decades to get people to choose the eco-friendlier products, but it's clearly not happening fast enough.  A big company will only feign environmental friendliness when it equals a plus sign in the profits column.

                  Many possibilities are open to you - work a little harder.

                  by Rainman on Wed Sep 28, 2005 at 02:11:18 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  Note that this "foregone profits"... (4.00)
            ...bit isn't how American Indians have been compensated for their land that was taken. Those tribes that were compensated, being in 1946, got pennies on the dollar based on what land was worth in the 1800s when it was stolen. Didn't get to claim even a portion of the foregone profits for time already past, much less future time.

            For example, the Lakota people were awarded by the Supreme Court in 1980, $17.1 million for the Black Hills illegally taken a century earlier. Plus $88 million in interest. But no foregone profits.

            (The Lakota refused to accept, by the way, and continue to demand a return of the land that is not now being actually lived on by non-Indian people.)

            Thirty-one million new blogs are created each year. Try ours at The Next Hurrah.

            by Meteor Blades on Wed Sep 28, 2005 at 12:44:44 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  clearly (none)
              the L/D/Nakota need to start playing the casino angle. Announce plans to paper every square inch of the territory that you do own with casinos. Then find a convenient endangered species (don't worry, there's tons) and demand compensation for not doing it. Voila, you're rich.


              Cheers to the Lakota nation for standing up to the Feds and demanding actual justice. I'm really impressed with the political unity and leadership. Good food, too.

          •  Imagine the precident this would make for (none)
            zoning laws, not to mention how it would hamstring species protection.

            For example:  This land is zoned for schools, you can't put an incinerator next door.  Pay the developer for the profits they would have made if they built it.

            It's absurd.  Business has risks, live with it.

          •  "Highest and Best Use"... (4.00)
            is determined by the local jurisdiction (e.g., city and/or county) through existing or amended land use plans, zoning codes, and engineering/environmental constraints.  My experience, working as an environmental and land planning consultant for the last 15 years in California, is that the development community regards the requirement to "set-aside" or conserve land as mitigation for the "take" of protected species and habitats as a "take" of their land a la eminent domain (see Zelo decision). When the gov't "takes" land under eminent domain, the gov't must pay for the land what it is estimated to be worth if developed.  So, ultimately, it is planning commissions, city councils, and county commissioners who determine what that "highest and best use" ultimately is on a particular site through the entitlement process.

            How much developer money and/or political connection will drive that decision making process is dependent upon the the strength of public noticing, public disclosure, and public awareness at the local level.  In that sense, the programatic Section 10(a) permit model begun in San Diego County in the mid-to-late 1990's may be direction that the Repugs want to push things.  Of course, the feds never delivered much (if any) of the funds that were promised for habitat acquisition, which is the biggest expense related to conserving habitat.

            The big expense, regardless of a determination of what is the highest and best use, is the creation of an endowment to maintain the conserved area as preserved open space for ever and ever, amen.  Typically, a Project Analysis Record (PAR) is prepared to determine how big a check will be necessary to maintain the land in its natural state by a trust entity.  This is a potentially BIG number that may dwarf the actual land value, and can have major consequences if the number is not big enough.

            Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. - T. Roosevelt

            by ranger31 on Wed Sep 28, 2005 at 02:51:41 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Pay up or I kill this dog. (none)
        Can I not develop the same land over and over again? Or am I selling a development easement? Can the government transfer this easement to Wal-mart? Can I cruise through the country and not build the same rendering plant on a hundred successive parcels?

        There are organizations that do good work buying conservation easements. I don't expect Bush's Department of the Interior to be one of them.

        Major Major's father was a sober God-fearing man whose idea of a good joke was to lie about his age. He was a long-limbed farmer, a God-fearing, freedomloving, law-abiding rugged individualist who held that federal aid to anyone but farmers was creeping socialism. He advocated thrift and hard work and disapproved of loose women who turned him down. His specialty was alfalfa, and he made a good thing out of not growing any. The government paid him well for every bushel of alfalfa he did not grow. The more alfalfa he did not grow, the more money the government gave him, and he spent every penny he didn't earn on new land to increase the amount of alfalfa he did not produce. Major Major's father worked without rest at not growing alfalfa. On long winter evenings he remained indoors and did not mend harness, and he sprang out of bed at the crack of noon every day just to make certain that the chores would not be done. He invested in land wisely and soon was not growing more alfalfa than any other man in the county. Neighbors sought him out for advice on all subjects, for he had made much money and was therefore wise. 'As ye sow, so shall ye reap,' he counseled one and all, and everyone said, 'Amen.'

        Ooh... I just passed a car with an open window. There was a great jacket on the front seat. I could have fenced it for fifty bucks, so the cops must owe me at least twenty for not stealing it.

        Why is there a Confederate Flag flying in Afghanistan?

        by chimpy on Wed Sep 28, 2005 at 01:00:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  damn straight, and Heller to boot! (none)
          That Catch-22 quote reminds me of my disgust over agricultural subsidies - don't get me started!

          Many possibilities are open to you - work a little harder.

          by Rainman on Wed Sep 28, 2005 at 01:28:55 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  All I need to know about war... (none)
            ...I learned from Heller & Vonnegut

            In the 1940's, the generation that had fought the War To End All Wars sent its own kids back to fight it again. Then those kids came home, giving thanks that the ordeal was finally over, fascism was beaten.

            Of all the authors to believe on the topic of war, I'll have to stick with Vonnegut and Heller.

            Joseph Heller war born in Brooklyn, New York, as the son of poor Jewish parents. His Russian-born father, who was a bakery truck driver, died in 1927. After graduating from Abraham Lincoln High School in 1941, Heller joined the Twelfth Air Force. He was stationed in Corsica, where he flew 60 combat missions as a B-25 bombardier. In 1949 Heller received his M.A. from Columbia University. He was a Fulbright scholar at Oxford in 1949-50...

            He doesn't reserve his scorn for the warmongers alone, either. Oilmen displacing Indians, Bureaucratic B.S., patriotic religiosity, and war profiteers all get a stern laughing-at. Still don't know what to make of that damn cat, though.

            Messrs Hannity & O'Reilly: When you've watched a city firebombed from the confines of a POW cell, then you can come back and tell me how great war is. Until then, let Mr. Vonnegut explain it to us.

            Why is there a Confederate Flag flying in Afghanistan?

            by chimpy on Wed Sep 28, 2005 at 03:18:38 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Takings (none)
          Jacket nothing.  I have not been advertizing my backyard as a dumping ground for high level nuclear waste.  It's my land.  Pay me.

          The myth of land ownership conferring essentially unlimitted power to decide use is just that -- a myth.

      •  It'scalled a conservation easement (none)
        And its already done.

        "False language, evil in itself, infects the soul with evil." ----Socrates

        by Mimikatz on Wed Sep 28, 2005 at 06:32:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  We are organizing (4.00)

      We are indeed organizing with other conservation groups to push back on this. But it's moving pretty fast, and we're up against the clock, so we need all the support we can get.

      You can get an idea for how broad the opposition to Pombo's bill is by checking out this Sierra Club press release, which lists the groups that are working in opposition.

      Jason Lefkowitz is the E-Activism Manager of Oceana.

      by jalefkowit on Wed Sep 28, 2005 at 11:32:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Union of Concerned Scientists (none)
      is against it. I'm sure the others are as well.  

      UCS Action Center:

      Fake ranch.  Fake Texas accent.  Fake turkey.  See a pattern here?

      by freedom fried on Wed Sep 28, 2005 at 12:09:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Probably (none)
      a rope-a-dope ploy.  We'll create this unfunded mandate and then later start a whiny campaign about how expensive it is to pay the developers.  Maybe even throw in a little disingenuous class war rhetoric.  You know - why are YOUR tax dollars going to pay off rich developers to save a few species that only a bunch of elitist LIBURUHL eggheads care about anyway?  See, that's why we need to just kill this whole Endangered Species Act off totally.  Sure the developers will rape the land like it's 1849 in California again but at least you, the hardworking taxpayer, won't be paying for it.

      Where's my Oxycontin.

    •  I know Sierra Club (none)
      Has Pombo as their #1 most (enter negative commnt here) Congressman.  They've campaigned against him for years.

      No one should be a politician if they've never lived paycheck to paycheck.

      by Savvy813 on Wed Sep 28, 2005 at 06:45:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  My Rep is on board (none)
    As Vermont is among the most environmentally conscious states.

    Seems a way for those with Red reps to lobby would be to point out the pork aspect of paying developers not to build provides some leverage, but alas, when we kill our own people due to indifference and greed, the animals fare far worse.

  •  Just sent an e-mail to my (none)
      Congress person.  He is usually pretty good on these issues.
  •  On A Trip Out To The CSA Farm Sunday (none)
    A Praying Mantis sat sunning itself and people watching as everyone stood in the chow line. The species has made a comeback thanks to the Endangered Species Act. Some kids wanted to see if it would eat a stick and I told them "that's an endangered species, stay back." Once upon a time those were words that inspired reverential deference. I don't think these kids recognized them.

    9/11 + 4 Years = Katrina... Conservatism Kills.

    by NewDirection on Wed Sep 28, 2005 at 11:38:35 AM PDT

  •  Thank God! (none)
    that stupid law has been  in the way of good, decent, hard working Americans for years.  Its ruined our economy, caused hurricane  Katrina, blew up the World Trade Center and impoverished millions of Americans.


    We live in one really fucked up country at the moment folks.

    A real soldier died in his 8mpg Hummer so you could play soldier in yours.

    by environmentalist on Wed Sep 28, 2005 at 11:41:37 AM PDT

  •  Tip jar (4.00)

    If this diary was useful to you, recommend it so others can take action too. Thanks!

    Jason Lefkowitz is the E-Activism Manager of Oceana.

    by jalefkowit on Wed Sep 28, 2005 at 11:49:06 AM PDT

  •  It aint over yet (none)
    The bill still needs to get through the senate where it will face a little more resistence.  I think Lincoln Chaffee has mention he'll vote no.

    "what is it? what can it possibly be about blow jobs and golf?" - Martian Visitor (Vonnegut)

    by Edanger6 on Wed Sep 28, 2005 at 11:50:28 AM PDT

  •  Chafee has his own study going (none)
    and it involves environmentalists and others. He doesn't plan to rush any damaging anti-ESA bill through his committee. Chafee has deep environmental roots -- let's hope he honors them

    A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government - Edward Abbey

    by Naturegal on Wed Sep 28, 2005 at 11:56:21 AM PDT

  •  Ethical Republicans... (4.00)
    ...have just officially been granted Endangered Species List status, so hopefully the few remaining will vote to save themselves.
  •  I e-mailed Kay with my comments: (none)
    I'm writing to urge you to vote NO! on HR 3824.  

    HR 3824 proposes to take the decision-making away from the scientists and puts it in the hands of  the Secretary of the Interior.  You, like most politicians, work for the people.  A person in charge of protecting endangered species should be working for the endangered species, not for the people.  The Secretary of the Interior is inappropriate for this task.

    Second, the removal of 'critical habitat' is disastrous, and eliminates the need for an Endangered Species Act.  Without a habitat, the endangered species will soon be extinct.

    Disasters like Katrina have taught us that not only do natural habitats provide a buffer zone for disasters, they are the refuge of unique species found nowhere else on the globe.  It's crucial that we protect these habitats, and let the species live without molestation.

    Hurricane Katrina is Bush's Monica Lewinsky. The only difference is 10,000 people weren't stranded in Monica Lewinsky's vagina. - Jon Stewart

    by Jensequitur on Wed Sep 28, 2005 at 12:10:03 PM PDT

  •  complicit in destruction of environment (none)
    You just have to ask yourself if you prefer to just be complicit in letting big business buy and close down our national parks and continue to destroy the environment YOU and NATURE coexist on, or if you want there to even be nature left at all.

    I really don't see any argument here, unless you are the CEO of a corporation that actively participates in destroying the environment and polluting without repercussion.

  •  Sure we can take this guy down (4.00)
    He represents the bay area, including parts just a few miles from Oakland and Berkeley. WTF.


    •  Yep, posted (none)
      a diary about him yesterday.  This guy is unbeleivable.  He even wants to make the government money by selling naming rights to all National Parks.

      No one should be a politician if they've never lived paycheck to paycheck.

      by Savvy813 on Wed Sep 28, 2005 at 06:48:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is why every district counts... (none)
    Especially while Republicans are in majority control of the house.  

    I know the central valley well, and while it's been trending republican for years I see signs that the tide is starting to turn with people becoming disillusioned with Arnold, Bush etc.  IMO a strong opponent could win.

    What about this guy could this be our next Hackett to take him out:

    Article from a local paper here

  •  Sen Spector's Office... (none)
    Wasn't aware that it was up for vote tomorrow, and he hasn't announced how he will vote on it.  They'll pass along my input, though.

    Let them call me as rebel, and welcome, I feel no concern from it; but I should suffer the misery of devils, were I to make a whore of my soul - Tom Paine

    by Mason Dixon on Wed Sep 28, 2005 at 12:41:50 PM PDT

    •  Duh (none)
      Probably b/c it's the house that's voting tomorrow.  Time to call Allison Schwartz

      Let them call me as rebel, and welcome, I feel no concern from it; but I should suffer the misery of devils, were I to make a whore of my soul - Tom Paine

      by Mason Dixon on Wed Sep 28, 2005 at 12:43:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  oh dear (none)
    Does anybody know just how good of an environmentalist Lincoln Chafee is?

    I have no problem with 'dialogue', or with making sure our environmental laws are effective and enforceable. But it raises my hackles when Republicans talk about 'dialogue' on environmental issues. Especially habitat for endangered species.

    BTW I don't mean to assume that the ESA bill will get through the House - I'm calling up Barbara Lee right now, not that she needs encouragement - I'm just looking ahead...

    •  League of Conservation Voters (none)
      link for scorecards on left menu.

      Chaffee has turned out to be a middlin' investment.

      WASHINGTON--The League of Conservation Voters , which spent $250,000 on television advertising in 2000 to help get Lincoln D. Chafee elected to the U.S. Senate, recently gave Chafee a score of 50 percent for his voting on eight key...

      There is a ton of info, including actual voting record, but requires zip code, which I don't know.

      Have fun.

      I'ts too wet to work. Let's buy a DVD.

      by emmasnacker on Thu Sep 29, 2005 at 05:20:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Jerry McNerney is running against Pombo (none)
    Jerry is a PhD mathematician who has spent his career in wind energy. He's progressive and a really nice person (his family is cool, too). Jerry ran against Pombo last election and got 40% of the vote with a last minute on a shoestring campaign. He was included in one of the Dean Dozen groups, also. George Lakoff spoke at a fundraiser for Jerry during the last campaign. He needs volunteers and money. Go to for info.
    •  He's not the (none)
      only one running against Pombo.  I've read of a couple others looking to get him out.  Let's hope the bill stalls until the election cycle kicks in.
    •  Thanks for posting that info... (none)
      ...because Rep. Pombo (R-CA-11) needs to find out what it means to become an endangered species.

      Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it. -Tom Paine

      by Alumbrados on Wed Sep 28, 2005 at 02:32:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I totally agree (none)
      And I wrote a diary eysterday about Pombo and McNerney.  Pombo is unbelievably disgusting as a politician.  His priorities are purely for self-gain (his family is into real estate in a huge way).

      No one should be a politician if they've never lived paycheck to paycheck.

      by Savvy813 on Wed Sep 28, 2005 at 06:50:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Anyone know (none)
    who the 23 Repubs are that objected to the "fast-track?"  Seattle Times (Editorial), Sept 28: "23 Republicans can help endangered

    The House vote is tomorrow.  My fear is that pieces of this are going to be attached as amendments to the appropriation for the hurricanes.  The WH already wants to suspend all environmental protections for the reconstruction effort.  This needs to be watched, it is likely to get slipped in with little or no debate.  The public (in general) wants environemntal protection but this administration has gutted the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act with no public outcry....

    •  No, I don't know who the 23 are (none)
      I've also been trying to find out who voted against it on the committee, but I couldn't find that either.

      As for Chafee, his father was a great promoter of the ESA, and Chafee himself is an environmentalist and recently spoke at the Arctic Refuge protest in DC.

      It's stated in the press that "Even if it passes the House, the bill could have trouble in the Senate. Sen. Lincoln Chafee, R-R.I., a moderate who chairs an Environment and Public Works subcommittee, is holding hearings and considering introducing a bill. Spokesman Stephen Hourahan said the senator has concerns about Pombo's critical habitat provision."

      A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government - Edward Abbey

      by Naturegal on Wed Sep 28, 2005 at 02:13:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Does anybody really think (none)
    this thing has a snowball's chance in hell in the senate?

    Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official... ~Theodore Roosevelt

    by caseynm on Wed Sep 28, 2005 at 02:06:07 PM PDT

    •  There are some concerns (none)
      that Chafee will be forced to offer a compromise bill in the Senate, and that in reconciling the two bills, some of Pombo's ideas will get through to the final bill.

      A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government - Edward Abbey

      by Naturegal on Wed Sep 28, 2005 at 02:14:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But won't it just be filibustered (none)
        by rational people?

        Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official... ~Theodore Roosevelt

        by caseynm on Wed Sep 28, 2005 at 02:21:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  One would hope that between the loyal Dems (none)
          and the moderate Repubs in the Senate, that a bill might fail to pass in the Senate even if Chafee lets it out of committee.

          Unfortunately in this right-wing climate, it's dangerous to take anything for granted.

          A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government - Edward Abbey

          by Naturegal on Wed Sep 28, 2005 at 02:53:13 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  They said the same thing (none)
      About CAFTA. It'll pass. Democrats hae to compromise with Republicans, you know? Have to help support an illegal war for oil to get centrist votes.
      •  You're wrong, I think. (none)
        The American people will put up with a lot, but they will not put up with the sale of National Parks.  Period.  The best way to play this to the public is to say that the Radical republicans want to sell off our Nat'l Park heritage.  It'l fly faster and better than trying to kill Sesame Street.

        Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official... ~Theodore Roosevelt

        by caseynm on Wed Sep 28, 2005 at 06:25:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Unless (none)
          There's oil in thar hills. Suddenly, selling parks for oil doesn't seem so bad. Democrats would support that as well. Look tough and all.
          •  Nope, you're dead wrong (none)
            The American people love the National Parks and don't want 'em fucked with at all.  Monuments?  Sure.  wildlife refuges? sure.  National Recreation Areas?  mmmmmmmm sure.  National Parks?  Hell no.

            I disagree with 'em on 3 out of those 4, but they are pretty steadfast about the Parks.  Teddy Roosevelt weren't no retard when it came to reading the 'merican people.  Dems RIGHT NOW need to read up on Teddy and learn something.....

            What the fuck was his issue with trusts anyway? </snark>

            Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official... ~Theodore Roosevelt

            by caseynm on Wed Sep 28, 2005 at 09:51:18 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  The Public doesn't matter. (none)
          There were 4 million comments in favor of the Roadless Rule, and look what happened to that.

          I'ts too wet to work. Let's buy a DVD.

          by emmasnacker on Thu Sep 29, 2005 at 05:36:06 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Support the 2 Party System (2.00)
    It is difficult to think of the Democratic Party being able to survive without the protection of the Endangered Species Act.
  •  This is so sad (none)
    Where are the Right-to-Life nutcases?  Where is the Religious Right?   Don't they realize that if you kill off a species of creatures, you can never get them back?? They're gone PERMANENTLY.

    If I was GOD I would be PISSED.

  •  The "Big Stick" (4.00)
    The ESA is the "Big Stick" in regards to wildlife conservation.  It is not perfect, but it is an effective stick to limit species extinction in the U.S.  If this stick disappears, there really is nothing left to protect species effectively.  The National Forest Management Act (1976) was recently weakened by Bush - it  eliminated the requirement to "maintain viable populations of native wildlife species."

    In the U.S., wildlife is the property of the citizens, held in trust by the government.  The states regulate/manage some species, while the feds regulate/mange migratory species (mostly birds) and Threatened and Endangered species.

    The "business-friendly" aspect of the bill is a sham.  "Takings" and "best-possible use" will basically bankrupt the U.S. if this bill was implemented with an actual human, caring heart.  I believe this is just another attempt to starve a program to ineffectiveness (drowning the ESA in the bathtub so to speak).

    Most citizens don't realize that they own the wildlife.  Our founding fathers explicitly did this because the King owned all wildlife in the UK.  Since we are the owners, we shouldn't be so quick to let business do what they will with it...

  •  Done :) (none)
    Called the reps in Ohio, left messages, wrote LTE, voted in your poll, recommended!  THANK YOU!

    Think what you are doing today. -Fred Rogers

    by JanL on Wed Sep 28, 2005 at 04:05:57 PM PDT

  •  thanks for the heads up (none)
    called my rep's (dave reichert, Wa-8) office and gave them my opinion, clicked the link.

    its so crazy that people would ever think such a bill was good.  blech

  •  Pombo's Role as DeLay's Protege a Factor? (none)
    Is this an opportunity to break off a few "moderate" Repubs? Can the fact that Pombo is notoriously a protege of the Hammer (who was so impressed with the youngster's fundraising ability he dumped the old Repub chairman of the House Resources Committee and installed Pombo) be made to tar him --- and his bill --- with the brush of DeLay's corruption? Maybe not, but the Dems can damn well try. Here's what I wrote my Congresswoman, Ellen Tauscher. Kossack feedback about effectiveness, etc appreciated:

    Ms. Tauscher,

    I urge you to oppose Rep. Pombo's revision of the Endangered Species Act, and to use whatever influence you as a moderate Democrat may have with Republican moderates to convince them to oppose the bill. With the leader of their party's extremist wing now under indictment, this is a historic opportunity to break the party's top-down unity.

    And on this issue, Republican unity must be broken and the bill defeated in order to avoid disastrous consequences.
    The abandonment of critical habitat protection, and the egregious provision to pay landowners for profits supposedly foregone by compliance, would effectively end protection for any species (endangered or not) whose habitat has any economic value. Besides an increased pace of extinctions (with the loss of genetic information), there will be a general decline of all plants and animals whose habitat is destroyed or degraded as protections are lifted. The loss of wildlife and the loss of protected open space represent an incalculable cost to the public good.

    That's the point, I suppose. Rep. Pombo's bill is an expression of the radical free-market absolutist "Ownership Society" ideology that currently dominates the GOP. This ideology imagines a pure, untrammeled "free market" and cannot tolerate any acknowledgement of a commons, of a public good that trumps individual property rights. Do all the Republicans currently serving in the House share this extremist view? Until recently, a bipartisan consensus accepted the need to maintain environmental protections.

    Of course, the bill also reads like a developer's wish list, which is probably how it was written. Pombo's fundraising talents, after all, have made him a protege of DeLay's. I would hope that the conflation of "cash on the barrelhead" corruption and deregulatory ideology that DeLay epitomises can make that ideology toxic. This might be a moment to reach across the aisle and say, "You know, guys, this just looks bad..."

    •  Good letter. (none)
      I also like to point out that WE ARE MAMMALS, and

      In their study, the authors examined evidence for population extinctions in medium and large-sized mammals.

      "Because of the diversity and variety of habitats mammals exploit, they can serve as an indicator of what is happening globally to animals and plants," said Ehrlich, the Bing Professor of Population Studies in Stanford's Department of Biological Sciences.  link

      I'ts too wet to work. Let's buy a DVD.

      by emmasnacker on Thu Sep 29, 2005 at 05:53:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Is this a bill that should be modified? (none)
    Just posing a question.  Let's assume we can beat this Republican bill back--defeat it.  Is the current bill we have today a pretty good bill?  Or does it need modification.

    I ask this to some degree out of ignorance.  I find it hard to be against an "Endangered Species Act"--it just seems logical that one would support it, if you believe in taking care of our world.  Yet, I've seen over the years many stories that seem to point out great hardships on some people, often the common man, and make the bill appear extreme.

    Now like most of you on this site, I'm very aware how the Repbulican spin machine can feed BS to the MSM, and make a normal situation seem extreme.  But, I guess it's also possible that upon reflection, any bill could be improved.  If that's the case, it may be better to take this on ourselves, rather than let the Republicans nail us with an overthrow someday, because we didn't address parts of the bill that should be changed.

    •  It can be improved, like most laws can (none)
      Some argue it's too cumbersome and could do more to reach out to property owners. Others argue we could delist more species if the law was only enforced properly, which it often isn't.

      So it's not perfect, but as has been pointed out, Pombo isn't interested in constructive reform -- like Chafee might be -- Pombo is interested in using the guise of reform as a method for gutting the law.

      A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government - Edward Abbey

      by Naturegal on Wed Sep 28, 2005 at 05:51:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Miller (R-CA-42nd) (none)
    Called Miller's office and sent an email... he usually supports any developers' interests. Aide said he "had not yet decided" - we will see - I'm not expecting much...
  •  Primary Challenge (none)
    In case no one else has posted this, Pete McCloskey is talking up a primary challenge to Pombo:

    "The Republican values that I grew up with, Pombo is not espousing," said Pete McCloskey, who represented the San Francisco Peninsula in the House from 1967 to 1983.

    The former Congressman said he's been working for three months to find a primary challenger. If one doesn't emerge, the 77-year-old Republican said he may move to the district to challenge Pombo himself.

    McCloskey, a co-author of the 1973 Endangered Species Act, was among a panel of farmers, fishermen and environmentalists at a press conference who criticized Pombo's proposed overhaul of the landmark environmental legislation.

    Pombo has lost touch with his Republican roots, McCloskey charged, and is now more concerned with supporting his campaign contributors than his constituents in California's 11th Congressional District.

  •  thanks - i've had this on my radar for a week (none)
    I'll shoot off an email to Tammy Baldwin, but what else can we even do about it?

    I hate feeling so powerless about crap like this!

  •  I have no fear (none)
    I know for a fact that ESA will be destroyed by Democrats. Have to appease the centrists, libertarians, conservatives, and corporate masters. It's only a matter of time until Democrats repeal the Bill of Rights.
  •  We have to go local (none)
    to preserve habitat and key resources.  All is not lost if we keep our heads....we cannot work with the Feds right now, but we can put our hands on 'em at the state and local levels as well as recruit sympathetic supporters.  Better this way anyway -- as the right demonstrated and as common sense shows, a tree with strong roots is much harder to bring down....

    Stop Looking For Leaders - WE are the Leaders!!!

    by SwimmertoFreedom04 on Wed Sep 28, 2005 at 06:16:25 PM PDT

  •  Thanks... (none)
    ...for your excellent diary.  Recommended.  

    Be the creature. (But not a Republican.) blogomni

    by boran2 on Wed Sep 28, 2005 at 06:22:42 PM PDT

  •  It's got a lot of support (none)
    Many Democrats are listed among the bill's 95 cosponsores, I don't think we can stop it in the House, perhaps in the Senate.

    "You can only protect your liberties in this world by protecting the other man's freedom. You can only be free if I am free."-Clarence Darrow

    by cwech on Wed Sep 28, 2005 at 06:56:02 PM PDT

    •  How can Democrats support this? (none)
      Point one: "Politicizes the use of science in decision making. Currently, the government has to follow the best available scientific and commercial data when making decisions about protecting endangered species. Under the Pombo bill, the power to determine what the "best available" science is will be given to a political appointee -- the Secretary of the Interior. Science should be done by scientists, not politicians."

      I cannot comprehend Democrats supporting this. What is their reasoning?

      Damn, this pisses me off.

      "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross." -- Sinclair Lewis

      by Dunbar on Wed Sep 28, 2005 at 07:29:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Richard Pombo's bio (none)
    I found it hard to believe that an arch-conservative keeps getting elected in Contra Costa county. See Pombo's bio for this whackjob's background.

    In 2002, he introduced a bill to reduce tariffs on "certain straw hats". Couldn't pay the going rate, Richard?

    Write your republican congressmen, if you are trapped in the red zones, and encourage them not to sell out the environment.

    The optimist thinks this is the best of all possible worlds. The pessimist fears it is true. J. Robert Oppenheimer

    by captainlaser on Wed Sep 28, 2005 at 07:55:27 PM PDT

  •  Pombo is such an idiot (none)
    But, it is going to go down, hopefully the Senate will save it, BUT even though everyone is saying the Senate will save it, who knows.  Good editorial from CSM:

    A few weeks back:

    Bush has got to go. Keep surfin, keep rockin, Baja Margie alias Pargie

    by Pargie on Wed Sep 28, 2005 at 08:04:23 PM PDT

    •  Karyn Strickler's comments were depressing (none)
      I always hate to hear when the green groups have fallen down on the job, and have actually done more to hurt us than to help us.

      That is still no excuse for Democrats in the House to support this bill though. There should be consequences to such a vote.

      A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government - Edward Abbey

      by Naturegal on Thu Sep 29, 2005 at 04:26:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Who cares? (none)
    Sorry to be defeatist and cynical.  Humanity has been wiping species off the planet for millenia.  

    Who cares?

    The excessive use of television and automobiles can be hazardous to your health.

    by Greenkermie in AZ on Wed Sep 28, 2005 at 08:50:48 PM PDT

  •  Call your Senator, too (none)
    I am somewhat optimistic that this bill will die in the Senate. But let's increase the odds of that and call our Senators to indicate our opposition.

    Anyone know the Senate number for any companion bill introduced in that body?

  •  Leave well enough alone (none)
    The Republicans may well rue the day they repealed this law.  The way things are going
    they may well find themselves an endangered species. Like the Dodo we may only have examples of them in picture books profiling extinct
  •  Well, (none)
    I've been writing my Congresspeople about this for about 3 weeks now. Every day I send off another one...

    They won't get away with this one....I won't let them. The House may pass it, but surely the Senate will stop it...and if the Senate doesn't stop it...then EVERY Dem that votes for Roberts is seriously getting spit on if I meet them in person...if they're going to vote for Roberts...they should at least vote to save endangered species as some payback...and that goes for those moderate Republicans too.

    If worse comes to worse...surely there has to be a lawsuit that environmental groups can file?! no?? please??

    I really hope this gets stopped.

  •  recommended and a half! (none)
  •  Not stopping with ESA (none)
    It is just the first one of three.

    Pombo is also the trigger man on the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Historic Preservation Act.

    If the GOP has its was the federal laws that mandate the protection and preservation of irreplacable environmental/natural/cultural resources ON FEDERAL LANDS (this is not just about private land rights, folks) will be totally gutted before the end of this Congressional cycle.

    "As individual fingers we can easily be broken, but all together, we make a mighty fist" Watanka Tatanka (Sitting Bull)

    by wild salmon on Wed Sep 28, 2005 at 10:07:58 PM PDT

  •  I thought pet rocks glowed in the dark (none)
  •  Note again, self-interest over national interest (none)
    Pombo, it should be noted,IS of the large land-owner/developer class and therefore a would-be recipient of this 'gift' (SF Chron).

    I'd like to see a score card developed that highlights this type of treason among the elegiac -er- elected class...

  •  Udate title? (none)
    you are still on recco list.
    suggest tomorrow TODAY!
    we need all the calls we can get!

    I'ts too wet to work. Let's buy a DVD.

    by emmasnacker on Thu Sep 29, 2005 at 06:28:57 AM PDT

  •  Christ, but these guys move fast. (none)
    Federal Register. Today.
    But they've been rowing up the ducks for decades.

    Katy? Bar the door.


    Notice of Intent To Prepare a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement,Amend Relevant Agency Land Use Plans, Conduct Public Scoping Meetings, andNotice of Floodplain and Wetlands Involvement

    AGENCIES: Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, Department of Energy (DOE) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Department of the Interior (DOI).

    ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare a programmatic environmental impact statement, amend relevant agency land use plans, conduct public scoping
    meetings, and notice of floodplain and wetlands involvement.

    SUMMARY: Section 368 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (the Act), Public Law 109-58 (H.R. 6), enacted August 8, 2005, directs the Secretaries of

    Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Energy, and the Interior (the Agencies) to designate under their respective authorities corridors on Federal land in the 11 Western States for oil, gas and hydrogen pipelines and electricity transmission and distribution facilities (energy corridors). The Agencies have determined that designating corridors as required by Section 368 of the
    Act constitutes a major Federal action which may have a significant impactupon the environment within the meaning of the National Environmental PolicyAct of 1969 (NEPA). For this reason, the Agencies intend to prepare a programmatic environmental impact statement (PEIS) entitled, ``Designation of Energy Corridors on Federal Land in the 11 Western States''
    (DOE/EIS-0386) to address the environmental impacts from the proposed action and the range of reasonable alternatives. DOE and BLM will be co-lead agencies for this effort, with the Department of Agriculture's Forest Service
    (FS) participating as a cooperating agency.

        The purpose of this Notice of Intent is to inform the public about the proposed action, announce plans to conduct 11 public scoping meetings, invite public participation in the scoping process, and solicit public comments for consideration in establishing the scope and content of the PEIS. Because the proposed action may involve actions in a floodplain or
    wetland, the draft PEIS will include a floodplain and wetlands assessment and the final PEIS or Record of Decision will include a floodplain statement of findings.

        The Agencies will prepare the PEIS in accordance with NEPA, the Councilon Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations, 40 CFR 1500-1508, DOE's
    regulations developed pursuant to NEPA, 10 CFR 1021, BLM's planning regulations 43 CFR 1600 and applicable FS planning regulations to amend land
    use plans.

    DATES: The Agencies invite interested agencies, states, organizations, Native American tribes, and members of the public to submit comments or
    suggestions to assist in identifying significant environmental issues and in determining the scope of this PEIS. The public scoping period starts with the publication of this notice in the Federal Register and will continue until November 28, 2005. Written and oral comments will be given equal weight, and the Agencies will consider all comments received or postmarked by November 28, 2005 in defining the scope of this PEIS. Comments received or postmarked after that date will be considered to the extent practicable.

        Dates for the public scoping meetings are:

    1. October 25, 2005, Denver, Colorado
    2. October 26, 2005, Albuquerque, New Mexico 3. October 26, 2005, Salt Lake City, Utah 4. October 27, 2005, Cheyenne, Wyoming 5. October 27, 2005,
    Helena, Montana 6. November 1, 2005, Boise, Idaho 7. November 1, 2005, Sacramento, California 8. November 2, 2005, Las Vegas, Nevada 9. November 2,
    2005, Portland, Oregon 10. November 3, 2005, Phoenix, Arizona 11. November 3, 2005, Seattle, Washington

        The Agencies will announce the times and locations of the public meetings through the local media, newsletters, and the project Web site
    at least 15 days prior to the meeting.

        Requests to speak at a public scoping meeting(s) should be received by Julia Souder at the addresses indicated below on or before October 18, 2005.
    Requests to speak may also be made at the time of registration for the scoping meeting(s). However, persons who submitted advance requests to speak
    will be given priority if time should be limited during the meetings.

    ADDRESSES: Comments or suggestions on the scope of the PEIS and requests to speak at the scoping meeting(s) should be sent to: Julia Souder by mail at U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, 1000 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20585; by
    facsimile at (202) 586-1472 or phone at (202) 586-9052.

        Please note that regular postal mail to DOE tends to be delayed because of anthrax screening. In order to avoid these delays, if you wish to comment or request to speak at the scoping meeting(s) by mail, we suggest that your

    submission be sent by using overnight service, or that your letter first be sent to us by facsimile or electronic mail, and then followed by regular
    mailing of the original documents.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For information on the proposed project or to receive a copy of the Draft PEIS when it is issued, contact Julia Souder by any of the means indicated in the ADDRESSES section of this notice. A
    complete description of the proposed action also may be found on the project
    Web site at

    I'ts too wet to work. Let's buy a DVD.

    by emmasnacker on Thu Sep 29, 2005 at 08:07:14 AM PDT

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