Endangered Species Act Under Attack Again

Rep. Richard Pombo (R-Calif.) is once again on the attack against the Endangered Species Act. Nearly a decade ago, during the “Gingrich Revolution,” Pombo was one of two reps chosen by the GOP leadership to assault the law, but the “reforms” he proposed then were so radical that they never came close to passing. Now Pombo — chair of the House Resources Committee, which oversees the ESA — is changing his tactics, taking a piecemeal approach. Today his committee is holding a hearing on a bill sponsored by ally Dennis Cardoza (D-Calif.), which would forbid the Interior Department from protecting the habitat of an endangered species until a “practicable, economically feasible, and determinable” species-recovery plan was developed, a provision enviros say would, in effect, delay any designation of critical habitat indefinitely. In advance of the hearing, Pombo issued a seven-page position paper bashing the ESA, citing cases of “failure” that are disputed by virtually everyone but Pombo’s ideological cohorts.