Endangered Species Act Under Fire & Fish Consumption Rates
I'm Lacy Gray with Washington Ag Today.
During a recent forum in Washington, D.C. U.S. Reps. Doc Hastings of Washington and Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming invited representatives from a wide range of interests to comment on the Endangered Species Act. Numerous speakers attending the forum spoke of how the ESA has impacted their communities; from prime farmland being required to lie idle and water supplies being curtailed to meet listed species needs, to litigation tying up industries and a Forest Service policy that favors catastrophic wildfires. Hastings had this to say in regards to the comments made.
HASTINGS: It's been very enlightening from my standpoint. Those of us in the Pacific Northwest have probably been hit more by the Endangered Species Act than any place else in the country over the years, but there appears to be more and more areas of the country that are impacted or potentially impacted by the Endangered Species Act.
Representatives from Defenders of Wildlife, WildEarth Guardians, and the Center for Biological Diversity were invited to attend the forum, but declined the invitation.
Conservation and commercial fishing groups are suing the EPA stating that the agency has allowed state officials to underestimate fish consumption rates, which has resulted in less than adequate anti-pollution standards than are needed to protect the public. The plaintiffs, which include the Puget Soundkeeper Alliance, Columbia Riverkeeper, and the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Association stated that if fish consumption rate estimates were more realistic, the state would be forced to adopt tougher regulations on toxic emissions such as lead, mercury and copper. Permits must be obtained by businesses before they can discharge pollutants into state waters under the federal Clean Water Act. Increased fish consumption rate estimates could result in more restrictive permits. Currently, the state's average fish consumption estimate is 8 ounces per person, per month.
That's Washington Ag Today.
I'm Lacy Gray on the Ag Information Network.