Tuesday, October 21, 2014

More unintended consequences of good intentions - and a possible win-win solution for problematic consequences

Knowing my fondness for unintended consequences of good intentions gone awry, the following was sent to me. I especially like the hopefulness of the win-win solutions proposed at the end.

Here are the introductory and concluding paragraphs:

"When the Endangered Species Act passed in 1973, the concern was that iconic species such as the bald eagle would become extinct. The main threats were from shooting, poisoning and trapping.

To address these concerns, Section 9 of the ESA, known as the “take clause,” included language that made it unlawful for any person “to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct.” This provision seemed sensible, but it has led to unexpected and adverse consequences for the species it was designed to protect.

The government has extended the “take clause” to include the “taking” of habitat that harbors—or could harbor—endangered species. The result is what many private landowners call the “3 S’s”—shoot, shovel and shut up—lest your land could be regulated by the federal government."

Here is a concluding case and solution:

"In 2004, for example, Ranchers in Montana’s Big Hole Valley signed a voluntary “Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances” with the Fish and Wildlife Service to protect the habitat of the arctic grayling.

With financial help from the state and federal governments, the ranchers completed 250 habitat improvement projects including installation of fish ladders, fencing to keep livestock out of riparian areas, and improvements in irrigation efficiency to increase stream flows. Still, conservation groups, such as the Center for Biodiversity, threaten more lawsuits claiming the “Voluntary conservation efforts have failed to address the primary threats to the grayling.”

Aggressive use of the Endangered Species Act by environmental groups has not been beneficial to endangered species or to private landowners. Rather than punish private landowners who conserve wildlife, we should reward them for serving the public’s interest."

For the whole article see: