What exactly would S. 2110 do? From the Center for Biological Diversity,
an overview of this latest piece of Crapo's:
Overview of S.2110, the "Collaboration and Recovery of Endangered Species Act"
Introduced by Senator Crapo (R-ID) Thursday, December 15, 2005
Makes Habitat Protection Completely Discretionary (pages 18-19)
The Crapo bill would eliminate mandatory timelines to designate critical habitat for endangered species, instead giving the Secretary of Interior complete discretion to prioritize designations based in part on "minimizing conflicts" with "construction, development...or other economic activities." Even then the Secretary would not be required to implement the schedule, and citizen groups would be banned from seeking court orders to implement any critical habitat schedules or deadlines. All existing court orders to designate critical habitat would be overruled by the bill.
Makes Species Listing Completely Discretionary (pages 18-19)
As with habitat protections, the Crapo bill would eliminate mandatory timelines to place species on the endangered list, instead giving the Secretary of Interior complete discretion to prioritize listings. Even then the Secretary is not required to implement her schedule and citizen groups are banned from seeking court orders to implement any listing schedules or deadlines. All existing court orders to list species would be overruled by the bill.
Killing One Species in Exchange for Another (pages 36-41)
The Crapo bill would create a system allowing developers to buy and sell credits for destroying endangered species habitat. This senseless system would allow developers to destroy the habitat for one species (e.g. Coho salmon) because they have purchased credits to protect another (e.g. Mount Hermon june beetle). It would result in the destruction of tens of thousands of acres of essential habitat areas.
Undermines Recovery Plans (pages 21-28)
The Crapo bill would create a new convoluted recovery planning process that allows industry to rewrite and overrule the decisions of wildlife experts. A newly created "executive committee" made up of industry interests would make final edits and revisions to the recovery plan developed by scientists and agency biologists. Furthermore, the Crapo bill explicitly makes recovery plans "non-binding and advisory."
Creates Roadblocks to Listing Endangered Species (pages 16-18)
The Crapo bill would create an ambiguous priority system for listing endangered species that includes industry interests. Current law requires endangered species listings to be based solely on the biological needs of the species.
Eliminates Federal Oversight of Endangered Species (page 15)
The Crapo bill would require Fish and Wildlife Service to provide a "provisional permit" for any project on private property (except for "ground clearing") if there is no recovery plan in place. The permit would remain in effect until a habitat conservation plan (HCP) is approved. This would allow activities like mining and logging in endangered species habitat to proceed indefinitely with no federal oversight.
Restricts Wildlife Agencies from Improving Conservation Agreements (pages 50-53)
The Crapo bill would take "No Surprises"--a highly controversial administrative regulation--and make it law. The Fish and Wildlife Service would be unable to update or revoke a permit (HCP) that authorizes harm to an endangered species, even if new information indicates that the original plan was inadequate and even if it is causing the extinction of the species.
Pays Off Developers to Not Violate the Law (page 56)
The Crapo bill would create tax breaks to compensate private landowners for conservation work done on private property. However, the Crapo bill fails to limit these tax breaks to landowners who engage in active conservation--the creation or enhancement of endangered species habitat. Therefore, land developers who are required to set aside some portion of their land from development would also be eligible for these tax breaks. That is, instead of paying private landowners to create new habitat, the Crapo bill would primarily be paying developers to comply with the law, creating no new habitat.
From the National Audobon Society's press release:
AUDUBON DENOUNCES NEW SENATE BILL UNDERMINING ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT
Bill Eliminates Critical Protections for Most Vulnerable Wildlife
Only 9 out of the 1,800 species listed as threatened or endangered have gone extinct. The bill introduced today puts many more species at risk of being lost forever, abandoned to commercial development and special interests.
"Passage of this bill would put another nail in the coffin of our most imperiled wildlife," said John Flicker, President of the National Audubon Society.
From the Endangered Species Coalition,
the 'guardian' of the ESA:
Although the bill purports to provide greater incentives for private landowner conservation, the legislative language does not carry out the bill's stated goals. Instead, the bill would seriously weaken the Endangered Species Act's safety net provisions protecting endangered species and habitats.
Let's forego the drama of another late night nail biter, and stamp this thing out now. E-mail your Senators from the CBD's S. 2110 Action Alert page. Or send a letter, fax, or phone them. Those numbers and addresses are two clicks away.
Nelson's Checkermallow, Sidalcea nelsonia, threatened in Washington
If you would like to know what threatened or endangered species live in your state, go to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's pages. Here, for example, are the federally listed species for Washington State. I have thrown in a few links to species of particular interest to me.
Animals -- 30
E Albatross, short-tailed (Phoebastria (=Diomedea) albatrus)
T Bear, grizzly lower 48 States, except where listed as an experimental population or the Yellowstone population (Ursus arctos horribilis)
T Butterfly, Oregon silverspot (Speyeria zerene hippolyta)
E Caribou, woodland ID, WA, B.C. (Rangifer tarandus caribou)
E Curlew, Eskimo (Numenius borealis)
E Deer, Columbian white-tailed Columbia River DPS (Odocoileus virginianus leucurus)
T Eagle, bald lower 48 States (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)
T Lynx, Canada lower 48 States DPS (Lynx canadensis)
T Murrelet, marbled CA, OR, WA (Brachyramphus marmoratus marmoratus)
T Otter, southern sea except where XN (Enhydra lutris nereis)
T Owl, northern spotted (Strix occidentalis caurina)
E Pelican, brown except U.S. Atlantic coast, FL, AL (Pelecanus occidentalis)
T Plover, western snowy Pacific coastal pop. (Charadrius alexandrinus nivosus)
E Rabbit, pygmy Columbia Basin DPS (Brachylagus idahoensis)
T Salmon, chinook Puget Sound (Oncorhynchus (=Salmo) tshawytscha)
T Salmon, chinook fall Snake R. (Oncorhynchus (=Salmo) tshawytscha)
T Salmon, chinook lower Columbia R. (Oncorhynchus (=Salmo) tshawytscha)
E Salmon, chinook spring upper Columbia R. (Oncorhynchus (=Salmo) tshawytscha)
T Salmon, chinook spring/summer Snake R. (Oncorhynchus (=Salmo) tshawytscha)
T Salmon, chum Columbia R. (Oncorhynchus (=Salmo) keta)
T Salmon, chum summer-run Hood Canal (Oncorhynchus (=Salmo) keta)
T Salmon, coho Lower Columbia River (Oncorhynchus (=Salmo) kisutch)
T Salmon, sockeye U.S.A. (Ozette Lake, WA) (Oncorhynchus (=Salmo) nerka)
T Sea-lion, Steller eastern pop. (Eumetopias jubatus)
E Sea-lion, Steller western pop. (Eumetopias jubatus)
T Steelhead Snake R. Basin (Oncorhynchus (=Salmo) mykiss)
T Steelhead lower Columbia R. (Oncorhynchus (=Salmo) mykiss)
T Steelhead middle Columbia R. (Oncorhynchus (=Salmo) mykiss)
E Steelhead upper Columbia R. Basin (Oncorhynchus (=Salmo) mykiss)
E Wolf, gray lower 48 States, except MN and where XN; Mexico (Canis lupus)
Plants -- 9
T Catchfly, Spalding's (Silene spaldingii)
T Checker-mallow, Nelson's (Sidalcea nelsoniana)
E Checkermallow, Wenatchee Mountains (Sidalcea oregana var. calva)
E Desert-parsley, Bradshaw's (Lomatium bradshawii)
T Howellia, water (Howellia aquatilis)
T Ladies'-tresses, Ute (Spiranthes diluvialis)
T Lupine, Kincaid's (Lupinus sulphureus (=oreganus) ssp. kincaidii (=var. kincaidii))
T Paintbrush, golden (Castilleja levisecta)
E Stickseed, showy (Hackelia venusta)
The site also features this interesting map:
(click map to interact with your US Fish and Wildlife Service)
We notice at a glance that Hawaii is far and away the "winner" in the category of Most Species Endangered and Threatened. But following the links from this map will lead you to a lot more interesting discoveries. I found a 2-foot long earthworm, not seen since 1978, and then only 40 miles from my childhood home.
And not much further away, still in my back yard really, is the Pygmy Rabbit. Washington's is a relict population, separated from its Great Basin counterparts for thousands of years and genetically distinct. It occupies a very specific niche, requiring Big Sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) for cover and food and deep, soft, loamy soil for digging its burrows.
And there aren't many left. When it was discovered that the only known group had crashed to 30 individuals, an emergency captive breeding program began, involving Washington State University, the Oregon Zoo in Portland, Idaho Fish and Game, and the Bureau of Land Management. Here's a WSU account of the program. Wouldn't you know it Department: they don't breed like rabbits.
At the same site is one of the most impassioned pleas I have ever read from a scientist, Why Save Pymgy Rabbits? I urge you to read it, and would quote extensively here were I not truly afraid of WSU's benighted, retarditaire, and hostile copyright policy.
video of the little cutie pies in the captive breeding program at WSU
It is entirely possible that there are small groups of these rabbits going undetected; they are not that easy to find in dense brush (insert obligatory Bush joke here). If any do turn up, we need the ESA if we are to have a chance of saving them.
This diary is getting too long. We will leave for another day the tale of the Oregon Silverspot Butterfly (below), the Showy Stickseed, and the others, and close with words spoken by Richard Milhous Nixon as he enthusiastically signed the ESA on December 28, 1973:
"Nothing is more priceless and more worthy of preservation than the rich array of animal life with which our country has been blessed."