Monday, April 11, 2011

Observations From the Back Row - 4-11-11

By Rich Kozlovich

Natural Gas Company Pleads Guilty in Arkansas in Connections with Fayetteville Shale Pipeline Construction Activities.  Hawk Field Services LLC…… pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court in Little Rock, Ark., to charges stemming from the illegal take of endangered species in north-central Arkansas….to three counts of violating the Endangered Species Act.

The Endangered Species Act is a federal law that makes it illegal to take endangered species, by harassing the wildlife to such an extent that it significantly disrupts normal behavioral patterns such as breeding, feeding or sheltering………This erosion and sedimentation occurred in waters containing the endangered speckled pocketbook mussel, and caused a take of at least one mussel by harassment……. Hawk Field Services agreed to pay a $350,000 fine and to donate $150,000 to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, for use in restoration projects in the Little Red River watershed.

U.S. judge keeps protections in place for endangered wolves  A similar plan for removing Endangered Species Act safeguards for wolves in Montana and Idaho, and turning management of the animals over to state game officials, was implemented by the federal government in 2009.   [Fourteen conservation groups challanged this decision.  Ten worked out a deal with the government that created this situation because four of these conservation groups decided they didn't like it and claimed that] the proposed settlement were improperly being driven by a wish to lessen the public conflict over wolves, rather than by science.

Powerful ranching interests in Montana and Idaho opposed reintroduction of wolves to the region some 15 years ago and have continued to resist federal protection of the animals as a threat to livestock. Sportsmen complain that wolves are killing too many big-game animals, such as elk……if the budget rider is enacted it would be the first time that an animal has been removed from the Endangered Species List by an act of Congress. In yet another wrinkle, Idaho's Republican governor is considering signing into law a measure that declares the estimated 700 wolves in the state a "disaster emergency." The measure would allow him to marshal state and local law enforcement to kill wolves.

The Inconvenient Species.  The Clean Air Act dodged a bullet in last night's budget agreement when GOP-sponsored riders to the budget were removed from the final agreement. However, the Endangered Species Act wasn't so lucky. Now wolves will be dodging bullets - literally, as the budget gives the northern Rocky Mountain states the right to delist the wolf.

Many Americans love the idea of wolves free to roam around the northern Rocky Mountain states. Many ranchers in the northern Rocky Mountain states hate the idea of wolves free to roam around their land, and politicians in their home states listen to them. Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) attached a rider to a Senate appropriations bill delisting the wolf from the Endangered Species Act, with the approval of Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. And that rider has stayed in last night's budget deal: wolf delisting pending, reports the AP.

Call it the Inconvenient Species. Officially, Tester's budget rider returns management of wolves to state biologists and delists the animal. Unofficially, the state biologists are believed to favor about 100 animals per state - a far cry from the 1700 to 2500 presently believed.

My Take - While many Americans love the wolf running about the Rocky Mountain states, many Americans don't live in the Rocky Mountain states or make their living off the land in the Rocky Mountain states. About 2% of all Americans create all the food we eat. In 1940 that number was closer to 50%. That is one of the reasons why we simple don't have the correct view of this issue; it isn't our ox that is being gored. But let them start living in our neighborhoods and many fewer Americans will love the idea of wolves at all.

The reality is that between 95 and 99 percent of all species that has ever lived has gone extinct, and every species in existence will eventually go extinct. Extinction is the rule, not the exception. Therefore I have concluded that the Endangered Species Act must violate the Precautionary Principle since it interferes with the natural trend of extinction, and therefore we don't know what unintended consequences we are unleashing by unfairly saving species that are destined to become extinct anyway. Sound good to me, after all, that kind of reasoning comes right out of the greenies playbook.


 ###

No comments: