Thousands of biologists ask Senate not to gut Endangered Species Act

As a Senate committee prepares to craft a bill revising the Endangered Species Act, 5,738 biologists from around the country have signed a letter begging senators not to neuter the act. The missive, organized by the Union of Concerned Scientists, states, “For species conservation to continue, it is imperative both that the scientific principles embodied in the act are maintained, and that the act is strengthened, fully implemented, and adequately funded.” Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), chair of the Senate Environment Committee and no friend of the green community, is trying to draft a bipartisan bill with the cooperation of committee members James Jeffords (I-Vt.), Lincoln Chafee (R-R.I.), and Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.). The House has already passed an ESA bill — penned by Rep. Richard Pombo (R-Calif.) and loathed by enviros — that would, among other things, require private property owners to be compensated if development plans were stymied by species protections.