By Ralph Maughan
Some Republican members of House Natural Resources Committee gather to attack ESA and EAJA.
Congressional hearings are held in theory to help gather information to write legislation. Every standing committee of Congress has members of both parties in proportion to their numbers in the full House or Senate. Many congressional hearings are not attended by most members of the committee or sub-committee. Instead, especially when taken on the road (called field hearings), just a small number of congressionals attend. They often have political objectives different from the view of most members of the committee.
So it was when five Republican members of the large House Natural Resources committee held a rump meeting of their committee in Billings, MT this week to criticize the ESA and as it turned out the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA) which natural resource developers have been saying allows frivolous lawsuits.
The hearing was set up to hear one side only as reporter Laura Lundquist of the Bozeman Chronicle reports. The hearing’s actual purpose may have been to boost the U.S. Senate chances of Montana’s Republican U.S. Congressmen Steve Daines who is running for the seat of retiring U.S. Senator Max Baucus.
Reporter Lundquist listed the large number of resource development groups lined up to attack the Western Watersheds Project and the Center for Biological Diversity’s use of the ESA and EAJA.
These groups say they use them to force the BLM and Forest Service to obey the laws, rules and regulations regarding grazing and related matters. More....