GOP congressfolk announce plan to revamp Endangered Species Act

House Resources Committee Chair Richard Pombo (R-Calif.) has expressed open hostility toward the Endangered Species Act numerous times, so some conservationists are questioning the sincerity of his recently announced effort to “breathe new life” into the law. Along with Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) and Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), as well as, to the dismay of ESA’s backers, moderate Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R-R.I.), Pombo announced plans to introduce a single ESA reauthorization bill that would include a number of changes long sought by critics of the act, including increased incentives for private landowners, increased state involvement, and stricter (opponents say prohibitive) scientific review for proposed listings. The talking point wielded by ESA’s critics is that only 1 percent of the 1,800 species listed under the act have fully recovered and been removed from the list; the law’s backers reply that the intent of the law is to prevent extinction, and only about 1 percent of the species have gone extinct, a rather striking success.