Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Project: Green Foundations, Endangered Species Act
Lawyers rake in $15 million from taxpayers under ESA law By: Audrey Hudson
A constant stream of lawsuits filed by environmental groups ostensibly to protect endangered species have cost taxpayers $15 million in lawyer fees from nearly 600 court actions in the last four years. Those figures are according to the Justice Department, which this summer provided more than 270 pages of documents outlining the lawsuits to Republicans on the House Resources Committee.......“It’s become a cottage industry,” said Rob Gordon, senior advisor for strategic outreach with the Heritage Foundation. “Those trying to compel the government to add some critter to the federal endangered list are often the green equivalent of slip and fall lawyers. It can be a lucrative business,” Gordon said……..Typically, the litigation seeks to add more species to the federal list or to set aside a multitude of acreage to protect plants and animals already on the list. These critical habitat designations can be quite extensive. Just last week, the federal government announced it would set aside 50,000 acres in western Colorado to protect three rare wildflowers, effectively blocking future energy development and home construction. Congress passed the ESA in 1973, and since then federal officials have put 1,391 domestic animals and plants on the list. Only 20 species have successfully been removed from the list, representing a one percent recovery rate.
My Take - There is a reason the greenies call the ESA "old reliable" because under this act they can get away with what would have been considered unthinkable in decades past. RK