Washington, DC, September 20, 2005—The Competitive Enterprise Institute strongly supports provisions to improve protection of Americans’ constitutional right to property contained in the U.S. House bill (H.R. 3824) to re-authorize the Endangered Species Act. The bill was introduced by Representative Richard Pombo (R-CA), Chairman of the House Resources Committee.
“We congratulate Chairman Pombo for his strong leadership and commitment to stop property rights abuses by the ESA and for the innovative approach he has proposed to accomplish this vital goal,” said Myron Ebell, director of international environmental policy at CEI and a longtime property rights activist and supporter of ESA reform. “The ESA threatens the constitutional rights of all Americans and has violated the rights of countless thousands of landowners. It penalizes people for being good stewards and thereby creates perverse incentives for property owners to do everything they can not to have habitat for endangered species on their land,” Ebell continued. “That’s why we think respecting people’s property rights will also make the ESA much more effective in protecting endangered species.”One important proposed change would set definite time limits on how long the federal government can delay making decisions on whether landowners will be allowed to use their land. “That would stop endless delays by regulators and give these owners a clear right to compensation for rightful uses that are prevented by the ESA, thus lifting them out of the legal morass that currently governs regulatory takings,” explained Sam Kazman, CEI’s General Counsel. “For these reasons, the bill would greatly advance the protection of private property rights.”