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Saturday, February 18, 2017

They just have to kill things.

by digby

Uday and Qusay celebrating their fresh kill of an endangered species

This breaks my heart:
The Endangered Species Act is endangered.

The 43-year-old law is under attack from the Republican Party and it’s not clear if and how it will survive the onslaught, especially with President Trump in power. Conservative members of Congress already deny climate change, dismiss the EPA, and are itching for more fossil fuel production—but what could they possibly have against a law designed to protect imperiled plants and animals? This is the very law credited with saving the Bald Eagle—the national emblem of the United States—from extinction, after all.

On Wednesday, Feb. 15, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works is holding a hearing entitled “Oversight: Modernization of the Endangered Species Act”; the latest development in an ongoing GOP campaign to try and rollback the power of the Endangered Species Act. Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, an outspoken critic of the law, is the new committee chairman, and he’s likely to pick up where his predecessor, climate change denier Jim Inhofe (R-OK), left off.

The Senate hearing comes during the same week that the chamber could potentially vote on the nomination of Oklahoma Attorney General, Scott Pruitt, to serve as EPA Administrator. Pruitt is no friend of the environment, and has made clear that he aims to limit the EPA’s scope, a position that falls in line with rest of Trump’s fossil fuel-friendly cabinet. The ESA panel adds to a long list of worries environmentalists and conservationists have with the Trump administration.

The Endangered Species Act is one of the government’s most powerful conservation tools, and that’s what Republicans don’t like about it. It can obstruct economic development and be burdensome for landowners and others to accommodate.

“I’m not sure what people really mean by ‘modernizing’ in this era of political double-speak.”

“I’m not sure what people really mean by ‘modernizing’ in this era of political double-speak,” said Amy W. Ando, an agriculture professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “It surely would depend now on whether a Republican or Democrat was talking. Republicans once supported common sense environmental protection and nature conservation—Teddy Roosevelt created the National Parks, Richard Nixon signed the Endangered Species Act into law, and George H.W. Bush signed the reauthorization of the Clean Air Act that created the innovative new provisions to cut acid rain.”

Ando said the current slate of environmental bills in Congress presented by the GOP “have taken an ideological stance against all conservation and environmental protection.”

“I don’t think any sensible progress on improving conservation policy is possible under the current administration and Congress,” she said. “A thoughtful revision of the ESA would require a Congress and executive branch that is genuinely interested in limiting the harm done to nature by unfettered use. Until we have such a government in place, the best we can do is to hold on to the law as it currently exists.”
This is just plain evil.  But then what isn't with these people?

 A poll released in January shows that the people don't support this by the way:
According to the poll results, 70% of voters opposed policy initiatives to target iconic species like the gray wolf or greater sage-grouse for removal from protection under the Endangered Species Act, compared with only 22% of poll respondents who supported such initiatives. This ranks legislative efforts to gut the Endangered Species Act second in unpopularity only to the sell-off of federal public lands among environment-related initiatives opposed by the American public.
“Clearly, the public isn’t buying the anti-endangered-species rhetoric that is being peddled by the industries that stand to profit from gutting protections for endangered wildlife,” said Erik Molvar of Western Watersheds Project. “Protecting our native wildlife, and preventing the irresponsible land uses that cause the extinction of rare native species, continues to be a core American value.” 
Fine-scale tabulations from the polling reveal that public opposition to dismantling protections for at-risk wildlife cuts across party lines, with majority opposition in every voter category. Some 75% of swing voters opposed dismantling protections for at-risk wildlife, compared to 81% of Clinton voters and 55% of Trump voters.  Some 65% of voters expressed concern that the policies of President-elect Trump and the GOP Congress would result in increased extinctions and weaker wildlife protections, with 55% of voters rating this a “very big concern.”
Even 55% of Trump voters aren't in favor of the wanton killing of animal life on the planet.  But 100% of his sons are bloodthirsty killing machines and a vast majority of the Republican congress are in the pockets of businessmen who really want to be able to destroy everything in their path to make an extra buck so it doesn't matter.