Cheat-Seeking Missles

Monday, September 19, 2005

Saving Critters: It's A War Zone

I have never used my blog to promote a client's interest, but in the case of Endangered Species Act reform -- which should hit the newspapers big time tomorrow -- my interests and my clients' interests align so perfectly that I'd be leaving a part of me out of my blog if I didn't post on it.

Full Disclosure: Since 1991, I have worked on endangered species issues for my land and resource clients. I'm proud that we have been able to defeat some bogus "endangered" species listings and restrict others. I'm currently working with the California Natural Resources Group to promote some modest reforms to the Endangered Species Act, which are outlined on our Web site,

Rep. Richard Pombo, chair of the House Resources Committee, will oversee the mark-up of TESRA, the Threatened and Endangered Species Recovery Act, this week. He held a press conference today, and Big Green lit up -- firing off press releases of fabricated gloom and doom which will be faithfully regurgitated by environmental beat reporters nationwide tomorrow.

Big Green's Big Lie is that Pombo is out to destroy the Act. Quoting an Activist Alert e-mail from the Endangered Species Coalition (ESC), "...greedy developers and the politicians they give money to are attempting to weaken America's safety net for fish, plants, and wildlife on the brink of extinction."

Never mind that Greens give far more money to Congressional races than developers.

Never mind that the same e-mail from ESC solicits funds for just such a purpose.

Never mind that far-right property rights groups are just as angry at Pombo for giving into the Greens (which he didn't) as the Greens are angry at him for giving into the property rights crowd (which he didn't).

Never mind that most of the ESA fights are over species that are hardly on the brink of extinction -- like the California gnatcatcher, which is genetically indistinguishable from millions of Mexican gnatcatchers, or the fairy shrimp, which some of us remember advertised in the back of comic books as "sea monkeys."

One of the things you will hear about ESA is that thousands of scientists oppose reforming it. This claim is a hooey-pot so foul reporters should steer far, far away from mentioning it. Why? Because you don't have to know anything at all about endangered species to get on the list. Here's ESC's solicitation to sign up:
In order to show opposition to Rep. Pombo's bill from the scientific community, we are circulating a letter for signatures by scientists. If you are a scientist, please consider signing the letter. If you know of scientists who may be interested in signing, please forward this letter to them. Text of the scientist sign on letter can be found here.
What does an astrophysicist, volcanologist or electrical engineer know about ESA? Nothing, but they're all scientists. In fact, most biologists and botanists are unfamiliar with species outside their narrow window of expertise -- and they certainly don't understand how the Act works.

Cheat-Seeking Missiles Action Alert! If you're fed up with Big Green's exploitation of the Endangered Species Act, please log onto and send a letter in support of TESRA. Unlike Big Green, our site won't hit you up for a contribution.