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Endangered Species? More Green Lies

By Alan Caruba


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The headline read "Marauding bear remains on the loose." Earlier, in the same newspaper, a fourth grade student wrote, "I am concerned that bears are getting into the dumpster at my school. " Montana? Idaho? No, New Jersey!

Surely, with all the people that live in New Jersey, these animals must be endangered? No, it's the people of New Jersey who live with the daily prospect of a bear breaking into their home, death on the highway if they crash into a deer, and the filth left behind everywhere the geese take up residence who are endangered

In 1998, after twenty-five years of living with the Endangered Species Act, not one single species listed for protection had recovered from its predicted extinction, nor been delisted as the result of the Act's regulations.

Of the nearly thirty species removed from the "endangered" list, seven were removed because they had gone extinct. Four were determined not to be real species. Ten were put on the list as the result of inaccurate data. Seven had benefited from actions unrelated to the ESA.

The Endangered Species Act needs to be ended. Not only has it cost billions in direct funding, it has cost billions more in the way it obstructs every kind of development society requires to maintain itself. People are going to jail and being fined for protecting themselves, their livestock, moving a few frogs someplace else, putting up a fence to avoid rattlesnakes; the list of idiocy is a long one.

In 1984, Julian L. Simon and Herman Kahn, as a response to a report entitled "Global 2000", the usual pack of Green lies, published a remarkable book, "The Resourceful Earth". Environmentalists have always used lies to shape public policy with their claims. Among them was the report's assertion that "Efforts to meet basic human needs and rising expectations are likely to lead to the extinction of between one-fifth and one-seventh of all species over the next two decades." Do you think there's been a mass die-off in the past twenty years?

The simple fact is that no one really knows how many species currently exist. No one knows how many species have existed in the past. Scientists, however, speculate that at least 90% of all species that have existed have disappeared. Darwin was right. The Greens believe that the rise of mankind has been responsible for an acceleration of the extinction of species. This fits neatly into their general contempt for mankind.

As Simon and Kahn point out, however, "no sources are given" for the estimates of species extinction cited in "Global 2000." If the wild projections of the report were to be believed, a calculation would mean that about 40,000 species were lost each year, about a hundred times the observed rate in the recent past. However, if you're going to lie about extinction rates, you might as well make it a Big Lie.

It is essential that the lies of the Greens be challenged. In September 2000, the World Conservation Union published its "Red List of Threatened Species." It included some 18,000 species! These so-called conservationists claimed that the "current extinction rate is 1,000 to 10,000 times higher than it should be under natural conditions." What proof do they offer? None! Humans do not occupy every square mile of the earth. Vast rainforests and jungles, deserts and plains are totally uninhabited. On a planet with an estimated 14 million species, of whom only 1.75 million have been documented, how can they possibly know this? The answer is obvious. They can't. Their report is bogus.

Endangered species make for a heart-tugging pitch for legislation and donations to "save" them, but as Simon and Kahn point out, "This task approaches, or surpasses, the limits of any existing human knowledge. The threat here is that we may overestimate our powers and underestimate our ignorance, and take counter-productive steps based on dangerously incomplete knowledge."

The Greens don't care how much is suffered by the human species that shares the earth, just so long some obscure animal species is "protected". Simon and Kahn concluded that "Any policy analysis concerning species loss must explicitly evaluate the total cost of the safeguarding activities...and such a total cost estimate must include the long-run indirect costs of reduction of economic growth to a community's education and general advancement…"

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In New Jersey, the short-run cost is what to do with all the bears, the deer, and the geese? It is literally against the law for anyone other than licensed hunters to reduce the vast herds involved and Federal law protects the geese. I have driven around my small, suburban town and seen dozens of deer feeding. Fifteen minutes from downtown Newark, I have seen wild turkeys!

In Oregon, the short-run cost will be the farms and entire way of life for its farmers. In early April, the Klamath Basin farmers were told they were not going to get one drop of irrigation water this summer! To "save" the Spinedace, the Spikedace, the Loach, the Rio Grand Silvery Minnows, and the Arkansas River Shinner, to name just a few FISH, agencies of the US government have shut off water to those who lives are dependent upon and devoted to the growing of food crops that Americans expect to find in their supermarket.

The assault on our farmers will drive up the cost of food for everyone. The US Fish and Wildlife Service introduced Red Wolves into North Carolina where several immediately headed for an easy source of food, the livestock on nearby farms. When farmers took aim to protect them, they were taken to court! This kind of thing has been repeated for years throughout the nation.

The assault on every developer who seeks to build new housing, a new hospital, or any structure that might actually benefit people and the economy, is based largely on the "endangered species" myth, backed up and supported by the force of law.

The ESA is so insane a law, it is even used to thwart the training of our military. At Fort Irwin in California, soldiers on this Army training center's battlefield are instructed to cease training whenever they see a 12-inch round desert tortoise, listed as threatened. This has been the standing rule for fifteen years! As the commanding general of the base points out to anyone with any common sense, "National security is a factor here. We cannot afford to get our training wrong. If we can't train the way we're going to fight, well, you sure don't want to find out you forgot something during battle."

The most famous example of how the ESA is used to bludgeon whole industries is the "Spotted Owl" hoax that led to the loss of countless sawmills and timber operations throughout the northwest. How many people lost their livelihood will never been known. The owl is safe. The trees are safe. The cost of every new home in America has risen by $5,000 to $10,000.

This is NOT about endangered species. It is a Green instrument used to harm the interests and needs of human beings, the one species environmentalists loath. It is one of the primary means they use to raise millions of dollars annually. Politically, it is an attack on everyone's property rights. To protect those rights, the Endangered Species Act must be wiped from the books and sanity must be restored.

Alan Caruba is the founder of The National Anxiety Center and writes a weekly column, "Warning Signs", posted on its Internet site (

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© Alan Caruba, 2001, All rights reserved.

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