Subject: Stewards: Landowners call for Repeal of Endangered Species Act
For Immediate Release
December 14, 2005
Contact: Margaret Byfield, 1-800-700-5922
Dan Byfield, 1-800-452-6389
Tom DeWeese, 540-341-8911
(word count: 600)
Landowners call for Repeal of Endangered Species Act
In anticipation of key Senate leaders filing Endangered Species reform legislation, several national property rights organizations have begun circulating a letter throughout the grassroots calling for repeal of the Act.
“Landowners are tired of losing their land and livelihoods while Congress discusses ways to slow the bleeding,” commented Margaret Byfield, executive director of Stewards of the Range, based in Idaho.
During the floor debate of the House’s ESA reform bill, HR 3824, the “Threatened and Endangered Species Recovery Act” sponsored by Resource Chairman Richard Pombo, Democrats were outraged at the inclusion of a provision granting aid to landowners when they lost the use of their property. They called the provision a new “entitlement” program for landowners.
The Fifth Amendment guarantees that “private property shall not be used for a public purpose without just compensation.” The ESA has never compensated a landowner for taking their land. So, to call aid to landowners an entitlement underscored why most have demanded outright repeal of the Act.
“Landowners are expected to give up their constitutional rights, while environmentalists can’t even produce nominal results after 32 years of implementing the most oppressive land use law in the nation,” Byfield continued.
Less than 1% of the species listed have been saved from extinction since the ESA was enacted. Even noted scholars are questioning the Acts effectiveness. In a poll published by Human Events ranking the ten worst laws on the books, the ESA was ranked 6th.
Dan Byfield, president of American Land Foundation based in Texas said; “[A]fter the Supreme Court Kelo eminent domain decision, people realize their homes are not safe from government confiscation. The ESA is much worse, under the current law, their land gets taken, but they receive no compensation.”
Landowners fear that unless something drastic is done, such as repealing the Endangered Species Act, the Act will continue to be the tool of choice for environmentalists to drive landowners off their land. “You cannot fix a fundamentally flawed bill,” Mr. Byfield said.
A key section of the letter states: “Congress needs to revisit the wisdom of our Founding Fathers who believed the ownership of property must be secured from government intervention for liberty to exist. Take that security away through environmental laws like the ESA, and not only is liberty not secure, it no longer exists. You only have to look at the past 30 years since the enactment of the ESA to see what it has produced - the dramatic destruction of property rights and the failure to recover species.”
One of the signers of the letter is Tom DeWeese, president of the national think tank American Policy Center. “For thirty two years the ESA has robbed property owners of their land, killed jobs, destroyed whole industries, and created a tyrannical government that would have had our founding fathers in the trenches, locked and loaded” stated DeWeese. “The end result is that the ESA does nothing to protect endangered species – it just makes the federal government more powerful.”
The letter will be delivered to Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, along with Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID), who is planning to file reform legislation along with other leading Senators.
“Our primary message to the Senate is that property rights, not the Endangered Species Act, should be protected first,” stated Ms. Byfield.
To obtain a copy of the letter and add your signature call 1-800-700-5922 or go to www.stewards.us, or you can call 1-800-452-6389.
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