No law has wreaked as much havoc on private property rights as the Endangered Species Act.
Radical environmental organizations have driven Congressional intent to new heights of absurdity: a tractor was arrested in California for murdering a kangaroo rat, and the tractor’s owner driven out of business. In Klamath Basin, 1,400 farmers were deprived of their own water for more than a year, to ensure that an “endangered” sucker fish didn’t scrape bottom while swimming. The horror stories are endless, and each is another trophy in the showcases of the radical environmentalists.
Now, they want more power. It’s not enough to label a bug as “endangered,” and thereby trigger a host of severe governmental restrictions on land use. Now, they want even more power to label weeds and bugs as “Invasive Species,” and are busy crafting another bureaucracy to manage them.
(An invasive species is a plant or animal that is now somewhere it wasn’t when Columbus landed.)
Congressman Ehlers, R-Mich., and Senator DeWine, R-Ohio, have teamed up to introduce in both Houses, the National Invasive Species Council Act. President Bill Clinton got the ball rolling in 1999, with an executive order that began the process of building a head of steam now about to explode across the country. In preparation, the U.S. government registered the domain name invasivespecies.gov back in 1999 and later snagged the .net version. The .com and .org versions were scooped up by organizations ready to turn up the heat on the public relations campaign to promote the new bureaucracy.
To bring a little logic to the discussion, our organization set up invasivgov.org, and is beginning to explain why the invasive species idea is ridiculous. Jim Beers, a biologist, retired from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, has developed a series of articles that explain why the National Invasive Species Council Act is a horrible idea.
Beers attended a briefing recently by representatives of government agencies pushing the invasive species agenda. His report reveals a level of arrogance we thought had departed government with the last administration. It is clear that these federal agencies intend to build a new bureaucracy around the management of invasive species, whether or not it is needed or wanted.
By designating a plant or animal as “invasive,” the federal government may claim jurisdiction over the land where it occurs and require management of the land as deemed appropriate by the government. Is this ridiculous or what?
Anyone who knows anything about kudzu, knows full well that a species brought to this country by the government, can, indeed, be invasive. This stuff grows at the rate of a foot a day sometimes, and can take over a hillside in a season. There are many other plants and animals that are “invasive.” They have been around forever. The wind, birds, people, and animals, take species from one place to another all the time. We certainly do not need another government bureaucracy to monitor and manage these species.
Farmers, ranchers, and other land owners have dealt with the problem of “invasive” species as long as there have been farmers and ranchers and land owners and users. They were doing pretty well managing these species until the government got in the way, with their land-management policies. Another bureaucracy will only exacerbate the problem.
If the federal government were required to demonstrate the chapter and verse of the U.S. Constitution that empowers their actions, the federal government would have to get out of the land management business.
I can’t find “invasive species,” anywhere among the enumerated powers set forth in the Constitution. I don’t think “endangered” species is there either. I couldn’t even find the word “wetland.”
Environmental extremists never miss an opportunity to bash the Bush White House and the Republican Congress for trying to undo all the wondrous work of the Clinton-Gore era. That’s simply a smoke screen. The invasive species initiative is growing in a Republican administration, and two Republicans introduced the bills in Congress.
An invasive species bureaucracy would deliver bipartisan grief. All land owners, land users, and all tax payers would be unnecessarily burdened, regardless of political affiliation. The invasive species bureaucracy is a bad idea that should be flushed and forgotten.