Endangered Species Act Excesses Come Home to Roost in Metropolitan East Coast


DATE: July 31, 2001

BACKGROUND: "They've given the birds the beach," Tom Scionti, a 19-year old resident of Long Island New York, told the Associated Press. "I have nothing against the birdsbut they have carried this to an all-time extreme." His comments came as the Fish and Wildlife Service closed off miles of beach in and around West Hampton Dunes on the island to protect the endangered piping plover, which nests there.

TEN SECOND RESPONSE: Finally people in the northeast are getting a small taste of the great abuses people in the west have been suffering for years under the Endangered Species Act.

THIRTY SECOND RESPONSE: While wealthy residents and vacationers in the Hamptons were complaining about a longer walk to the beach this summer, 1,400 families in the Klamath Valley of California and Oregon lost their crops and nearly their farms, all due to Endangered Species Act enforcement. Perhaps northeasterners and others in metropolitan areas will begin to understand that the ESA is hugely flawed and urge their representatives and senators to reform it.

DISCUSSION: The Endangered Species Act (ESA) has a dubious record of protecting species. Nearly two-thirds of all species that have made it off the list were delisted because subsequent studies found they were never endangered in the first place. Two alleged successes of the Act, the bald eagle and the peregrine falcon recovered because of the ban on DDT, as DDT was causing these birds to lay eggs with fragile shells. The ban had nothing to do with ESA.

The ESA has been very successful, however, at halting numerous human activities, including farming in the Klamath Valley, until Secretary of Interior Norton ordered enough irrigation water to be released to allow growing of winter feed for livestock. To find out more how the holding back of water to protect the sucker fish affected Americans in the Klamath valley, read National Policy Analysis #345, "In the Klamath Basin, Farmers and Ranchers are Becoming the Real Endangered Species," by Gretchen Randall, at http://www.nationalcenter.org/NPA345.html.

by Tom Randall, Director of Environmental and Regulatory Affairs, The National Center for Public Policy Research

Contact the author at 773-857-5086 or trandall@nationalcenter.org
The National Center for Public Policy Research, Chicago office
3712 N. Broadway ­ PMB 279
Chicago, IL 60613