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Friday, November 1, 2013

Bureaucrats run free, misinterpreting Endangered Species Act -- By Theodore Hadzi-Antich, The Washington Times

Illustration by Greg Groesch for The Washington Times (Illustration by Greg Groesch, The Washington Times)

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act. Environmental and animal rights activists are toasting the occasion, but if you’re concerned about the health of the economy and property rights, think twice before joining the celebrations.

Around 2,000 species have been listed for protection under the Endangered Species Act over the years. Hundreds of thousands of acres have been designated as “critical habitat” for those species — meaning, federally designated areas that are off-limits to any human activity that could conceivably affect the protected species.

Of all the blunt instruments that the federal government has at its disposal to disrupt human life, designation of critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act is perhaps the most destructive. Here’s one example:

The federal government has designated virtually the entire West Coast as critical habitat for a marine species known as the green sturgeon, a type of cartilaginous fish that can reach 7 feet in length and weigh 350 pounds. The habitat includes 1,421 square miles of coastal marine areas, 897 square miles of estuaries, and hundreds of additional miles of freshwater rivers. The critical-habitat designation encompasses the entire western shoreline of the states of Washington and Oregon, as well as most of California’s coast. In some areas, the designated critical habitat extends for many miles inland through river systems going deep into the heartland of each state.

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