By Justin King
Washington - The Endangered Species Management Self-Determination Act, currently in committee in the Senate, seeks to leave protection of endangered species up to the Governors of each state and automatically remove protections for animals after five years.
The bill, sponsored by Kentucky Republican Rand Paul, would require the federal government to gain the approval from state governments before enacting the protections spelled out in the original Endangered Species Act of 1973. Paul believes the bill would expedite job creation and infrastructure projects. The Senate bill is known as S. 1731.
In addition to the requirement that species be removed from the list of protected animals after five years unless congress enacts a joint resolution, there is also a clause granting governors immunity from judicial review of their actions. The section reads:
Any action by the Governor of a State under this subsection shall not be subject to judicial review in any court of the United States or in any State court.
The proposed legislation has caused outrage among conservationists, who argue against the bill based on what they see as a list of faults.
Many see the five year period of recovery as unrealistic and point to the fact that the wolf, just deemed recovered in 2012, took almost 40 years to recover. Immediately after losing federal protections, governors of various states allowed the animal to be recreationally hunted.
The Wolf Conservation Center said that special interests are behind the bill in a statement accompanying an online petition:
"many of the industries and special interests responsible for the original habitat destruction which inspired the [Endangered Species Act\ have been fighting for years to destroy the Act itself. By passing this bill, they and their allies are violating a decades-old bi-partisan consensus among Americans that wildlife and ecologies are invaluable and worth protecting. Just as the quality of our air and water cannot be left to the individual States, neither can the continued healthy survival of our vital and endangered wildlife. Wildlife belongs to America."
There was no available comment from the sponsors on how the legislation would reconcile with the many international treaties on endangered species protection to which the United States is a party.