MSLF attorney Cody Wisniewski published an article today in RealClearPolicy, explaining how the Endangered Species Act has been abused in order to lock up enormous tracts of land under federal control:
No good deed goes unpunished. Similarly, it seems no well-intentioned piece of legislation is ever used as intended. This could not be more true than when it comes to the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (“ESA”). In 1972, then-President Nixon charged Congress with establishing a “stronger law to protect endangered species of wildlife.” President Nixon wanted the federal government to be able to step in earlier to aid in the recovery of endangered species and, for the first time, to make “shooting, trapping, or other taking of endangered species,” a federal offense.
Congress responded to the president with the ESA — mission accomplished, or so they thought. It is clear from the President Nixon’s message, the statements made by members of Congress, and the language of the ESA itself, that the ESA’s well-intentioned goal was to allow the federal government to step in and aid in the recovery of an endangered or threatened species, and then to return management of the species back to the state, which properly has jurisdiction over the affairs within its borders. Neither President Nixon nor Congress could have predicted what the ESA has become today.