Another Earth Day is Celebrated, Yet Environmentalists Continue Supporting Failed Programs

 

 

DATE: April 21, 2003

BACKGROUND: Since 1970, April 22 has been recognized as Earth Day. The environmental left will mark the date with press releases, rallies and other activities calling for additional government regulations and more private and public expenditures to "save the planet."

"Loggers losing their jobs because of spotted owl legislation is, in my eyes, no different than people being out of work after the furnaces of Dachau shut down."1

This quote from the late David Brower, founder of Friends of the Earth and the first Sierra Club executive director, is one of many statements made over the years by environmentalists who support radical legislation to protect certain species of plants and animals.

Since 1973, the flawed Endangered Species Act (ESA) has been cited by environmental groups across the country as the only way to save species on the brink of extinction.

TEN SECOND RESPONSE: Endangered Species Act regulations have not been a successful tool for saving species threatened with extinction, but it does place a large burden on American property owners, the economy and residents of many states.

THIRTY SECOND RESPONSE: Environmentalists tout the necessity of protecting plants and animals through vigorous enforcement of the Endangered Species Act. Preserving species is a noble goal, but the ESA isn't doing the job. Of the 1,254 species listed as endangered since the ESA enacted in 1973, only 33 have been taken off the endangered list. Twelve of the 33 were removed due to erroneous population counts or data entry errors.
2 That means less than one percent of listed species were recovered over the last 30 years. Meanwhile, ESA enforcement is estimated to cost consumers and taxpayers more than $1 billion a year in litigation, lost profits, lost jobs and rising business and governmental operational costs.3

DISCUSSION:
David Brower's comparison of loggers to Nazi death camp workers may sound extreme, but Brower was one of the environmental movement's leading figures until his death in 2000. The environmental left has a rich legacy of extreme claims and wild predictions of environmental devastation. These environmentalists typically agree that reforms to the ESA that seem commonsense are unacceptable. Examples include proposals to base ESA regulations on more rigorous, peer-reviewed scientific analysis and proposals to compensate landowners who lose the use of their land because of ESA regulations.

We do our environment a disservice if we observe Earth Day with the belief that all claims peddled by the environmental left are true. Similarly, we need not support every program and law backed by environmental advocacy groups. These programs aren't always the best way to meet environmental challenges, and sometimes even cause more harm than good.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

For more information on Earth Day, please visit the Earth Day Information Center at http://www.nationalcenter.org/EarthDay98.html.

See also:

Biodiversity and Endangered Species section of the Earth Day 2003 Information Center's "Myths and Facts About the Environment" at http://www.nationalcenter.org/EarthDay03Myths.html#F

Smart Growth and Land Use section of the Earth Day 2003 Information Center's "Myths and Facts About the Environment" at http://www.nationalcenter.org/EarthDay03Myths.html#C

Energy section of the Earth Day 2003 Information Center's "Myths and Facts About the Environment" at http://www.nationalcenter.org/EarthDay03Myths.html#B

Global Warming section of the Earth Day 2003 Information Center's "Myths and Facts About the Environment" at http://www.nationalcenter.org/EarthDay03Myths.html#A

Air and Water Quality section of the Earth Day 2003 Information Center's "Myths and Facts About the Environment" at http://www.nationalcenter.org/EarthDay03Myths.html#D

Chemicals section of the Earth Day 2003 Information Center's "Myths and Facts About the Environment" at http://www.nationalcenter.org/EarthDay03Myths.html#E


by Christopher Burger
Program Coordinator
John P. McGovern, MD Center for Environmental and Regulatory Affairs
The National Center for Public Policy Research

Contact the author at: 202-543-4110 or [email protected]
The National Center for Public Policy Research
501 Capitol Court, N.E.
Washington, D.C. 20002

 


Footnotes:

1 David Brower, founder of Earth First!, Speaking in British Columbia, as quoted by Dixie Lee Ray and Lou Guzzo, Environmental Overkill: Whatever Happened to Common Sense?, Washington, DC: Regnery Gateway (1993), page 203.

2 "Delisted Species Report as of 3/27/02," U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington, D.C., downloaded from the Internet at http://ecos.fws.gov/webpage/webpage_delisted.html?%listings=0 on March 18, 2003.

3 "Hansen Files Landmark Bill to Restore Original Intent of ESA," press release, Office of Congressman James Hansen (R-UT), Washington, D.C., November 12, 2002, downloaded from the Internet at http://resourcescommittee.house.gov/press/2002/2002_1112ESA.htm on March 25, 2003.