On Tuesday (4/8) GarCo Commissioner Tom Jankovsky was in Wasington DC, testifying before the House Natural Resources Committee in support of proposed reforms to the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Rep. Scott Tipton also supports the changes. Jankovsky’s sidekick Rob Roy Ramey II also testified. Ramey is the industry-friendly biologist whom Jankovsky hired to draft an alternative greater sage-grouse plan. [Junk science hunting] Jankovsky is up for re-election in November. Perhaps he sees himself as an endangered species.
WASHINGTON, D.C., April 8, 2014 – Today, the House Natural Resources Committee held a Full Committee legislative hearing on four straightforward bills to update the Endangered Species Act (ESA) for the 21st century and improve species recovery. The bills are supported by all of the Members of the ESA Congressional Working Group, representing districts across the nation, and are based on the recommendations and findings of their report and input from a broad array of stakeholders, including the Western Governors’ Association. At the hearing, witnesses discussed the importance of increasing transparency of federal ESA decisions.
“There is strong support for conserving endangered species, but there are key areas where improvements could be made to make the law more effective for both species and people. Today’s bills reflect some of those recommended improvements,” said House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (WA-04). “These bills provide a starting point for this Committee’s legislative efforts on the ESA. Moving forward with these simple, narrowly focused proposals would help bring needed transparency and accountability for significant federal ESA decisions that greatly impact both species and people.”
H.R. 4315, 21st Century Endangered Species Transparency Act, sponsored by Chairman Hastings would require that data used by federal agencies for ESA listing decisions be made publicly available and accessible through the Internet.
Dr. Rob Roy Ramey II, Ph.D. said, “Despite a trend of towards openness in virtually all other areas of government, many far reaching ESA listing and regulatory decisions are being made without the opportunity for independent analysis of the underlying data. The ESA is sorely in need of updating in this regard and the services are working from an outdated model. When data are not publicly accessible, legitimate scientific inquiry is effectively eliminated as no third party can independently reproduce the results. Such secrecy does not further the goal of species recovery.”
Tom Jankovsky, Garfield County Colorado Commissioner, spoke in favor of this legislation noting: “There is a serious lack of openness and fairness (transparency) in decisions being made by state and federal agencies that are hidden behind the cloak of the ESA that have serious impacts on local communities. Information used by these agencies to make extraordinary decisions with enormous impacts on local communities such as is done with the ESA should be available for review and verification by those it impacts. To operate otherwise, furthers the appearance and perhaps the fact that the information is inaccurate, misleading, and erroneous, has no scientific basis, and is agenda driven by special interests” …
Here’s the Conservatives’ take on the bill: