Reason Foundation

Reason Foundation

House Resources Committee Passes ESA Reform Bill

Leonard Gilroy
September 25, 2005, 4:51pm

HR 3824, the most sweeping revision of the Endangered Species Act, passed the House Resources Committee late last week (see this post for more). According to the Washington Post: Coming on the heels of the passage of Measure 37 in Oregon, the new ESA reform bill offers more evidence that the property rights movement is making significant inroads in their fight against regulatory takings (when a government entity effectively "takes" private property without just compensation by over-regulating it). Why do regulatory takings matter here? Not only are they an afront to the property rights protections enshrined in the Fifth Amendment, but the ESA currently creates a counterproductive incentive structure: some owners of property with rare species habitat may chose to destroy the habitat in order to avoid the severe land use restrictions imposed by ESA. The new bill attempts to remedy the situation by incentivizing conservation and making sure that the public-at-large, not individual landowners, pay the costs associated with species preservation.

Leonard Gilroy is Director of Government Reform

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