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Un-bear-able Obstructionism of the Grizz

With so much news about health care lately, here is a hypothetical you might want to consider: If you and your family were really sick, how would you feel about checking into a hospital where your chance of recovery is less than 3 percent? Kind of grim outlook, isn’t it? But that is exactly the recovery rate for species placed on the Endangered Species Act over the past 40+ years.

Congress passed the Endangered Species Act with the laudable goal of preserving wildlife populations facing the possibility of extinction. Unfortunately, those best laid plans have been derailed by a variety of factors, not the least of which is frivolous and obstructive litigation by anti-hunters.

When a species is listed as threatened or endangered, federally-mandated land use restrictions take effect. And since over 1300 species have been listed on the ESA, it is safe to say these stringent federal land-use limitations have limited the use and enjoyment of a lot of private property throughout the nation.

Worse yet, the restrictions are not working. Rather than a tool to help species recover, the ESA has been hijacked by radical environmentalists and animal rights zealots to mire US Fish & Wildlife in expensive and perpetual litigation, siphoning off resources that could have been used to actually help animals.

But that’s not all. The anti zealots get another benefit from their legal shell game. While the slow wheels of justice turn, virtually all land use of the habitat in question is restricted or completely banned until the question is sorted out in the courts. All the while, resources that could be used for species recovery are wasted on lawyers and expert witnesses. A great example was the Yellowstone grizzly bear.

The grizzly bear was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 1975. In 1982, a group of interested stakeholders, including a number of anti hunting groups like Friends of Animals, approved a Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan, which set “recovery” of the Yellowstone bears at 500. In 2007, the growing bear population exceeded the target of 500, and US Fish & Wildlife moved to have the bears delisted from the ESA. But instead of celebrating grizzly bear recovery, the anti-hunters reneged and filed for an injunction to stop the delisting.

But that was 2007. What about today?

If you had not heard, there is a new sheriff in town and he does not take kindly to obstructionist litigation. I will tell you what Interior Secretary Ryan Zenke is doing for the grizzly bear in my next installment here :

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