Republicans ready to go on ESA

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 1996:

House speaker Newt Gingrich on
March 21 signaled imminent motion
toward passing a long-delayed
Endangered Species Act reauthorization
bill, appointing California representative
Richard Pombo and New
York representative Sherwood
Boelert to co-chair a new
Republican task force on the environment.
Pombo is among the most
aggressive foes of the ESA; Boelert
is among the most prominent proESA

Momentum may favor the
Republicans at least until the summer
Congressional recess, following
the failure of the Bill Clinton administration
to lobby in favor of an
amendment offered by Senator
Harry Reid (D-Nevada) to the
Omnibus Appropriations bill, which
would have lifted the year-long
moratorium on adding species to the
federal “threatened” and “endangered”
lists. The amendment failed
on March 14, 49-51.
“The White House could
easily have turned the vote around,”
Defenders of Wildlife spokespersons
charged. “Five Democratic Senators
voted the wrong way, including
Senate Democratic whip Wendell
Ford, of Kentucky.” Defenders
urged Clinton to veto the Omnibus
Appropriations bill, part of which
authorizes that the moratorium be
Results of the moratorium,
according to Defenders, are that
“More than 250 species have been
denied a final listing decision,”
including the North American
jaguar, originally ranging from
Arizona to Louisiana but rarely seen
in recent years. A recent report on
biodiversity issued by the Nature
Conservancy said that about a third
of 20,000 native species whose status
it reviewed are vulnerable to possible
David Hogan of Colorado
Wolf Tracks meanwhile charged
that, “While Congressional rhetoric
has captured public attention, the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service––the
agency with primary responsibility
for ESA enforcement, has quietly
dismantled the Act on its own, by
voluntarily relaxing enforcement, to
avoid political conflict.
Senators Bob Dole of
Kansas, the all-but-nominated
Republican presidential candidate,
and Dirk Kempthorne of Idaho, the
author of a bill to gut the ESA, both
stated in January that they want to
get ESA legislation before Clinton
before the start of the fall election
Data on $65 million in
wise-use campaign contributions
distributed since 1989, released in a
report by the U.S. Public Interest
Research Group and the
Environmental Working Group,
meanwhile showed that the top
recipient in the Senate was Kay
Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), who
authored the ESA moratorium, at
$397,046, while the top recipient in
the House was Don Young (RAlaska),
perhaps the most outspoken
ESA foe in Congress, at

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