The Endangered Species Act (ESA) is the nation’s most popular and powerful environmental law. There has been much discussion (and disagreement) over whether the law is a success or failure. On the one hand, almost no protected species have gone extinct since the ESA was enacted. On the other hand, equally few species have fully recovered. In fact, less than 3% of protected species have achieved recovery.
So why have so few animals recovered under the ESA? Too little regard for property rights.
By respecting property rights more, this 45-year-old law can better serve landowners and wildlife advocates alike.
The ESA imposes burdensome regulations on property owners whose land provides habitat for rare species and threatens massive fines or criminal prosecution for many ordinary land-use activities. Instead of incentivizing landowners to help recover an endangered species, the ESA punishes them for accommodating species. According to scholars across the political spectrum, this encourages landowners to preemptively destroy habitat when we should be encouraging habitat restoration.
To understand how the ESA creates these perverse incentives, we must understand what happens when a species is listed under the Act.
THE WILDLIFE CORRIDORS CONSERVATION ACT – What You Need to Know
The 2019 Wildlife Corridors Conservation Act.(WCCA) is perhaps the most significant attack on private property rights in decades, perhaps ever. A simple look at the list of sponsors of the proposed legislation provides plenty of warning about what this new law portends.
The WCCA was introduced in Congress in May 2019. In the Senate, the bill is being led by Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM), and was cosponsored by Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D- NJ), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Bernie Sanders (D-VT), Jon Tester (D-MT), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Ron Wyden (D-OR). The bill was introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressmen Don Beyer (D-VA) and Vern Buchanan (R-FL).
REWILDING advocates and their minions in Congress are ecstatic over what this “ACT” will lead to once it is enacted. Don’t be fooled folks! This legislation doesn’t SAVE wildlife! Non-endangered species such as grizzly bears and wolves don’t need your private property or more Federal land to survive. Continue reading
July 10, 2019: Today the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the conviction of Navy veteran Joe Robertson, who was sentenced to 18 months in prison and ordered to pay $130,000 in fines after he dug fire-fighting ponds near his home in Montana. Sadly, Joe passed away in March, but his wife, Carri Robertson, continued his legal battle.
“We are very pleased that the Ninth Circuit agreed that Joe’s convictions should be vacated and very pleased for Carri, who will no longer have a $130,000 federal judgment hanging over her head,” said Tony Francois, a senior attorney at Pacific Legal Foundation. “It has been an honor to represent Joe and now to be able to complete his vindication on behalf of his wife, Carri.”
Federal regulators said that Robertson polluted a “navigable water” — a small ditch with a trickle of water — when he dug the ponds. The Environmental Protection Agency said the ditch was a federally protected waterway under the Clean Water Act and required a federal permit — even though his home is 40 miles from the nearest navigable waterway.
In April, the U.S. Supreme Court granted Joe Robertson’s petition to review his Clean Water Act convictions, and immediately vacated the Ninth Circuit’s judgment in the case and sent it back to the Ninth Circuit for further review.
Pacific Legal Foundation Press Release
New Orleans; July 3, 2019:Today, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana ruled that Louisiana property owners Edward Poitevent and his family, along with Weyerhaeuser Co., are the winners in a long-running national battle over property rights and the reach of the Endangered Species Act.
The plaintiffs’ victory represents the ultimate resolution of a case that reached its climax in November with the U.S. Supreme Court’s unanimous rulingin Weyerhaeuser Co. v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in favor of private property rights.
Today’s settlement marks the complete capitulation of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and invalidates its wrongful 2012 decision to designate the family landowners’ and Weyerhaeuser Co.’s property as critical habitat for the endangered dusky gopher frog, a species that did not even live on their property. Continue reading
When it comes to conservatives and the U.S. Supreme Court, abortion and labor rights are often considered among their prime targets. Brett Kavanaugh’s ascension to the court last fall, though, opened the road for a host of other challenges for which conservatives have quietly been laying the groundwork for years. This month, the Pacific Legal Foundation, a conservative law firm based in California, made moves on one of those fronts, asking the Supreme Court to take up a case challenging the constitutionality of inclusionary zoning — a popular tool cities and states employ to increase affordable housing and promote residential integration.
Inclusionary zoning generally works by requiring real estate developers to reserve a certain number of units in new housing complexes for tenants who live on more modest incomes; some jurisdictions also allow developers to alternatively pay a fee so the city can construct more affordable housing elsewhere. Conservatives argue that the policy effectively violates a provision of the Fifth Amendment that says private property cannot be taken without just compensation. Continue reading
In court filings, the state has noted that if the court finds that the Iddings have legal title to the tidelands, the state can still take them without compensating the Iddings, since for decades the public has harvested on those tidelands. State lawmakers this month have filed bills in the Senate and House of Representatives that would restrict how the state goes about acquiring lands through this process, known as adverse possession.
Read the Feb 2 2019 Kitsap Sun article here
The Kitsap County Department of Community Development is working on a proposed revision to County Code Title 2 Code Compliance (Entry Policy 020719 DDL ) specifically to the requirements needed to enter private property to investigate possible code compliance issues. They are proposing to hold a public hearing on March 11 at the 5:30 PM Board of County Commissioners Evening meeting, Commissioner Chambers, County Admin Building, 610 division St, Port Orchard.
State Law and the State constitution are very specific about what a County inspector can do without the owner’s permission. RCW 59.18 Residential Landlord –Tenant Act