Secretary of Interior, Dirk Kempthorne (former governor of Idaho) is likely gearing up to change the ESA. Of course as DOI Secretary he can’t pass any laws, but he can undertake the writing of new regulations.

Story in the Great Falls Tribune

As a US Senator he was one of the few Republicans who sought a fairly moderate approach to the ESA. Since then the proposals have been to flat out gut the ESA under the guise of reform. An example is Richard Pombo’s bill that would require payment to developers for not building any proposed project in the critical habitat of endangered species — a sure fire incentive for them to seek out critical habitat and propose a development that would kill off the species in an effort to grab taxpayer money.

So Kempthorne is likely to propose something not so bad as Pombo’s legalized extortion.

Control of Congress will made a big difference. The House, on a nearly party-line vote, actually passed Pombo’s pay-me-not-to-kill-endangered-species bill.

Most likely will be another 2 years of fighting off the Bush Administration, regardless of what happens in the congressional elections, but perhaps Congress will not to be fought too.

 
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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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