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09/06/05 Revising E.S.A.? It`s time
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Program: Line on Agriculture
Date: September 06, 2005

Idaho Senator Mike Crapo thinks the timing is right to open debate on the Endangered Species Act. Crapo now has Arkansas Democrat Blanche Lincoln on board in an attempt to write legislation that will revise the ESA.

CRAPO We are close to being able to introduce legislation on some key ideas which we think is going to get strong bipartisan and strong support from industry groups and environmental groups alike.

So what kind of ideas is he proposing? Crapo says they dont want to concentrate on repealing parts of the bill but rather on how to best help species recover, and that may require some new thinking from those in Washington DC.

CRAPO Making sure that we expand the opportunities for incentives for private landowners to manage their lands in ways that benefit species. Theres a lot of really great expertise in the states thats just not being used. We have some significant progress to be made in bringing the states into the mix better which will also bring the benefit of more local decision making.

The two Senators have formed a working group that also concentrate on three other areas of reform; they feel commitments to recovery must be as serious as commitments to protection and that protection and improvement of habitat should be done in the most effective way possible. Crapo says they need credible, reliable science, subject to independent review to provide a more open process on contentious issues. While Crapo and Lincoln work on Senate legislation the House is working on its own reform bill but we have no idea which form it will take It does seem a safe bet that there will be differences between the two pieces of legislation. But both houses have to pass them, work out those differences and do it before the end of the year.

CRAPO But the honest answer is we will make I believe significant progress in reaching legislative milestones but we wont necessarily have time this year to get a bill on the Presidents desk.

When Crapo recently held a Rangeland Summit in Nampa he heard several government officials and ranchers talk about current federal legislation. One example, how a well intentioned two page bill passed dozens of years ago today often results in mountains of paperwork, red tape, delays, litigation, frustration and often a lot of time, money and manpower wasted because of it.

Line on Agriculture
Bill Scott

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