Sep 27, 2018Endangered species protection position outlined by Farm Bureau
Moving from a “culture of conflict” to collaborative conservation would help the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) work better for both species and people, according to testimony before a House committee Sept. 26.
California Farm Bureau Federation President Jamie Johansson testified on behalf of the American Farm Bureau Federation before the House Committee on Natural Resources in Washington, D.C. The committee held a hearing on nine measures aimed at improving the ESA.
Johansson emphasized that farmers and ranchers share the goal of protecting species from extinction, but said the past 45 years of ESA implementation have generated more conflict among people than success at recovering fish and wildlife. He cited examples from California – such as ESA protections for the northern spotted owl, delta smelt and salmon – that have brought significant disruptions to rural communities without benefiting the protected species.
“What we know is that to actually take care of species on the land, we need to work with, not against, the people on the land,” Johansson said. “For this to happen, we must increase the opportunities for collaboration and decrease the opportunities for conflict.”
Johansson encouraged the House committee to focus on ESA improvements that produce collaborative conservation by reducing conflict and improving regulatory certainty.
“In order for any landowner to work collaboratively to conserve the species, they need to know at the start what will be expected of them, and they must be confident the rules are not going to change once they are in,” he said.
Johansson offered Farm Bureau’s support for collaborative efforts to improve the ESA for both people and species, and stressed the need for “viable and durable solutions that will result in long-term, meaningful improvements” to the ESA.