15 Apr 2011, 8:06pm
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Commentary: ESA – The fleecing of a nation

By Carl Sampson, Blue Mountain Eagle, April 13, 2011 [here]

… As taxpayers we complain incessantly about the amount of money the federal government spends. These days 42 cents of every dollar is borrowed, making the waste of taxpayer dollars even more of an outrage.

But we have on the books laws that cost an inordinate amount of money, don’t really do anything and mainly benefit the legal community.

We speak, of course, of the Endangered Species Act and a basketful of related environmental laws. Only a handful of species have recovered using the law. Some of those “recoveries” involved little more than moving the animals from one place to another.

Such was the case with gray wolves. Listed as “endangered” in the Lower 48, biologists moved 62 of them from Canada, where upward of 30,000 wolves live. Then the wolves were let loose and everyone was banned from shooting them. Now, through the wonders of procreation, wolves are spreading across the West.

One can only assume a government agency will spend a pile of money studying how that “recovery” happened. A pile has already been spent in courts as environmental groups — on the federal government’s dime — have wrangled with federal managers to “protect” the alleged “endangered” wolves, which now number more than 1,200.

The ESA is also used to stop any number of activities, from construction projects to ranching to cutting weeds.

A recent example of that last activity took place in California, home of the Los Padres National Forest. Managers there had planned to clear roadside brush and weeds along 750 miles of forest roads.

An environmental group sued to stop the work, arguing that cutting the weeds threaten protected and sensitive species.

Mind you, all of the work would take place within 10 feet of the road.

To protect this “sensitive” environment, the judge in the case issued an injunction and ordered to the U.S. Forest Service to hire a full-time biologist. According to the simplyhired.com website, a federal biologist makes about $56,000 a year, plus benefits. That’s about $26.92 an hour.

Assuming the weed-cutting takes place on both sides of the roads — a total of 1,500 miles — is done at 1 mph, that’s 1,500 hours. Multiply that by the hourly pay rate, and that’s a little over $40,000.

That’s $40,000 for nothing. And don’t forget the federal government will have to pay the legal fees of the environmental group’s lawyers and those who represented the Forest Service. … [more]

Note: Carl Sampson is the managing editor of the Salem-based Capital Press.

See also: Roadside Fuels Management Shut Down on the Los Padres NF [here]



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