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Git Home!



The extraordinary pain of a righteous law.

By C.J. Hadley

In “Refuge,” the lead to our special insert on endangered species (page ESA 2), investigative reporter Tim Findley writes: “The Endangered Species Act of 1973 was a beast of its own being, evolving beyond itself into proportions few were willing to predict. All that was really known was that once it took hold it was almost impossible to stop....”

The voices you’ll find within these pages talking about the ESA are from Washington D.C., Oklahoma and South Dakota. They speak from Alaska, Wyoming, Montana, Nevada and Texas. But their regional tones and differing torments all have a similar theme—endangered species.

Findley tried to kill a whooping crane when he was a boy and regrets it yet. He says now, “I was glad I missed.”

Wildlife biologist Jeff Goodson has seen too much pain caused by the ESA and shares tips on how private property owners can protect themselves from enviros, feds, litigation and abuses caused by the Act (ESA 28).

From the director of U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Steve Williams, you will read about how we can work together (ESA 8). From others, you will see the impact of a minnow on food producers in four states—Oklahoma, New Mexico, Texas and Kansas (ESA 10); desert tortoise in Nevada (ESA 20); salamanders, kangaroo rats and bighorns in California (ESA 14); cave bugs in Texas (ESA 12); prairie dogs in the Dakotas (ESA 17); and “the spotted owl of the sagebrush sea,” sage grouse enviros are attempting to use to separate federal lands ranchers from their grazing permits in the West (ESA 40).

You will read, perhaps too much, about canis lupus and the fact that wolves are decimating Alaskan moose herds, Montana’s elk, and starting to salivate when loitering close to cows and sheep. You will hear from the American wolfman himself, Ed Bangs (at one time the greens’ hero), who has taken up a rifle to kill his own beautiful, blood-sucking, copulating, marauding wolves (ESA 34).

And you will see perfect images by one of National Geographic’s finest photographers, Joel Sartore (ESA 22), who says simply, “By saving species we will save ourselves.”

There’s hardly a soul in the country who doesn’t want to save endangered critters but most of us have no idea what those 1,258 species are or where they are found (ESA 45). Even though the intent of the law was good there is also formidable and unimaginable cost. Farms and ranches—in fact, any private property that harbors endangered species—are being destroyed while regulations connected to the Act itself have done nothing to help save species.

Findley writes: “The 1973 law had sent scientists scrambling on a treasure hunt for rare species as if they had just been burst loose from a gigantic federal piñata. Species and subspecies everywhere were claimed from the edge of extinction....”

Range is trying to keep the good people who live and work on the land from teetering on that same brink.

Fall 2002 Contents | Git Home!

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