For Immediate Release: Sept. 30, 2011
Contact: Carmen Fenton, 512-469-0171
LUBBOCK, TEXAS – The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) passed policy Friday urging the U.S. Congress to require the Department of Interior (DOI) and the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to streamline the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to better balance comprehensive science, economic development, input from affected stakeholders, and private property rights when determining whether to list, introduce, and/or relocate a threatened or endangered plant or animal species.
According to TSCRA, many species are listed without sound evidence supporting claims that the species are indeed endangered.
“The ESA has far reaching implications concerning agricultural practices and private property rights in areas where endangered and threatened plant and animal species may exist,” said Joe Parker Jr., rancher and president of TSCRA. “Before government implements new regulations that could potentially harm the cattle industry, they should at least have strong proof that there is a problem.”
According to TSCRA, the interpretation and administration of the ESA often exceeds the intent of Congress. In addition to lacking the sound science, Parker says the ESA doesn’t include the proper economic impact studies.
“Ranchers work to protect the environment, but they fear that the ESA has become another vehicle used by the federal government to control what they can and can’t do on their land,” said Parker.
TSCRA’s policy also supports the ability of private landowners to voluntarily participate in non-regulatory incentive programs to comply with the ESA and to be eligible for any tax incentives associate with those programs.
TSCRA also opposes forced perpetual land-use takings, management plans and easements for the recovery of a threatened endangered species. TSCRA supports stronger legal protections for private landowners that would:
• Provide fair compensation if property rights and/or land is taken under the ESA
• Better protect confidential information provided by landowners regarding species presence, data collection, and voluntary program participation
• Provide stronger burden of proof and evidence requirements to be placed on those petitioning that a species be listed as threatened or endangered
The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association is a 134-year-old trade organization. As the largest and oldest livestock association in Texas, TSCRA represents more than 15,000 beef cattle producers, ranching families and businesses who manage approximately 4 million head of cattle on 79.5 million acres of range and pasture land, primarily in Texas and Oklahoma. TSCRA provides law enforcement and livestock inspection services, legislative and regulatory advocacy, industry news and information, insurance services and educational opportunities for its members and the industry.