Endangered Species Act a Failure

ESA Needs Fixing

Statement By 60 Plus Association President, Jim Martin

Arlington, VA — “On behalf of the 60 Plus Association and senior citizens all across America, I am pleased to have added my signature in support of a letter sent by more than 50 leading national and grassroots organizations, calling on Congressman Richard Pombo, Chairman of the Committee on Resources, to not reauthorize the ESA without widespread reform. The ESA, which appears on the fast track for reauthorization this year, has by most accounts been a stunning failure.

Since it became law over 30 years ago, only nine of the close to 1,300 species given special protection under the ESA — or 0.6 percent of the total — have recovered. This points to something horribly amiss.

“It’s my opinion, as it is those other signatories of the letter to Pombo, that the ESA hasn’t failed because it isn’t strong enough, rather because it has the incentives all wrong.

“Today, private landowners live in fear of the ESA. Those who harbor endangered species on their property or merely own land suitable for them, often find themselves subject to severe land use restrictions. To avoid such restrictions and the losses in property values that accompany them, many have been forced to preemptively sterilize their land to keep rare species away.

“Such preemptive sterilization benefits no one — least of all the species the ESA was meant to protect.

“Furthermore, landowners must be compensated for the losses the ESA wreaks upon their property; they cannot be expected to continue being penalized for good stewardship practices.”

Click below to view letter: