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E-M:/ ESRA Alert



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Enviro-Mich message from juliemec@sojourn.com (Julie Stoneman)
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The Grassroots Environmental Effectiveness Network, a project of the
Defenders of Wildlife, asked MEC to forward this alert to Michigan
activists?
>
>    ACTION ALERT!  ACTION ALERT!  ACTION ALERT!
>
>     ENDANGERED SPECIES RECOVERY ACT TO BE INTRODUCED NEXT WEEK!
>
>                   Cosponsors Needed Immediately!
>
>Representative George Miller (D-CA) will introduce the Endangered
>Species Recovery Act (ESRA) in the House next week.  Based on the
>Endangered Natural Heritage Act, Rep. Miller's Endangered Species
>Recovery Act (ESRA) will allow us to finally get ahead of the
>extinction curve.  But in order to get this important bill to move we
>need to have as many original cosponsors as possible!
>
>**********************************************************************
>* What You Can Do:
>
>Call your Representative immediately.
>
>Capitol Switchboard 202-224-3121, or 1-800-972-3524.
>
>Tell him/her to support the Endangered Species Recovery Act, and ask
>him/her to be original cosponsors of the bill.  Fax or e-mail your
>Representative as well!
>
>For more information contact:  Heather Weiner (202) 667-4500
>WeinerH@aol.com or Mike Senatore (202) 682-9400
>msenatore@defenders.org
>
>**********************************************************************
>* Background on ESRA
>
>The Endangered Species Recovery Act will set the high water mark for
>ESA deliberations.  Miller's proposal is the first pro-ESA bill to be
>introduced this Congress.  Conservation groups are gearing up to build
>broad support for the bill by launching an aggressive national ESRA
>campaign.
>
>ESRA will:
>
>  * reward those who take the extra steps to help recover species
>    already on the brink of extinction.
>
>  * offer tax incentives to landowners that make a commitment to
>    manage their land for the good of society.
>
>  * encourage regional planners to manage development in a way
>    that protects greenspace while allowing economic growth.
>
>The Endangered Species Recovery Act renews our nation's commitment to
>protect our rights to the medicinal, agricultural, economic and
>spiritual benefits derived from a healthy environment.
>
>**********************************************************************
>* ESRA HELPS LAND OWNERS BY:
>
>1. PROVIDING TAX INCENTIVES FOR GOOD STEWARDSHIP.
>
>ESRA incorporates tax proposals endorsed by both property-rights and
>conservation organizations.  Estate tax deferrals for lands enrolled
>in "Endangered Species Conservation Agreements" (ESCA) would encourage
>large private landholdings to stay intact.  By entering into an
>"ESCA", landowners would agree to implement proactive conservation
>measures (such as prescribed burning or tree planting) not already
>required by law.  ESRA would also allow tax credits for the costs of
>implementing these proactive measures.  In addition, the bill
>authorizes additional tax deductions for certain state and local
>property taxes on habitat managed under an ESCA.
>
>2. GIVING PLANNING ASSURANCES WITHOUT IGNORING SCIENCE.
>
>ESRA significantly improves on the Administration's current "No
>Surprises" policy, which allows private landowners to alter or destroy
>endangered species habitat under a long-term unmodifiable permit.
>ESRA ensures that the initial permit is as good as it can be by
>requiring the impacts of the permitted activity to be minimized up
>front, and that the permit is consistent with recovery.  Then ESRA
>allows permit holders to proceed with assurances if they file a
>performance bond to cover the costs of reasonably foreseeable
>modifications necessary to protect covered wildlife.  For instance,
>wildfires, disease and other natural events can have devastating
>impacts on already weak populations of wildlife.  The performance
>bonds ensure that taxpayers will not pay for the foreseeable adverse
>impacts of habitat destruction.  But in those rare cases when
>"unforeseeable" events outside of the permit holder's control impact
>the terms of a permit, ESRA establishes a public Habitat Conservation
>Plan Trust Fund to cover the costs of protecting endangered species
>from extinction.
>
>3. ENCOURAGING REGIONAL PLANN1NG FOR HABITAT PROTECTION.
>
>ESRA encourages ecosystem planning on a regional basis.
>Ecosystems do not run along political boundaries, so multi-species,
>multi-jurisdictional plans are essential to ensure recovery.  ESRA
>encourages regional governments to cooperate together, allows groups
>of private landowners to pool resources, and allows local governments
>to administer habitat plans.  ESRA also encourages cooperation to
>streamline permitting processes across jurisdictions.
>
>4. HELPING LANDOWNERS WITH STREAMLINING & ASSISTANCE.
>
>ESRA helps small landowners by streamlining the permit process
>and establishing an office of technical assistance.  Smaller
>landowners benefit most from technical assistance because they often
>lack the resources and expertise that large corporations can afford.
>ESRA also allows the small landowners that have a minimal impact on
>endangered species to benefit from a quick and easy permit process and
>to receive planning assurances.
>
>**********************************************************************
>* ESRA RECOVERS ENDANGERED SPECIES BY:
>
>1. FOCUSING ON RECOVERY, NOT JUST SURVIVAL.
>
>ESRA improves the existing ESA by strengthening approval
>standards.  Under the existing law, pesticide application, river
>damming, forest clearcutting, and other habitat destruction are judged
>by their impact on the SURVIVAL of imperiled wildlife.  ESRA requires
>that taxpayer-funded activities must not reduce the likelihood of
>RECOVERY.  It also requires that land use planning be consistent with
>the overall recovery of resident wildlife. Not a hard standard to
>meet, yet one that is rarely reached under existing law. In addition,
>ESRA improves the chances for recovery by identifying specific
>management actions and biological criteria in recovery plans, placing
>deadlines on final recovery plans, and encouraging federal agencies to
>take preventative measures before a species becomes endangered.
>
>2. USING THE BEST AVAILABLE SCIENCE TO PLAN FOR RECOVERY.
>
>ESRA strengthens the existing ESA by relying on the best
>scientific information available.  ESRA implements recommendations
>from the National Academy of Science on improving the scientific basis
>of important endangered species decisions.  For unprotected species
>that means providing protection before population numbers are too low
>to recover.  For listed species that means using independent
>scientists to peer review large-scale, multi-species habitat
>conservation plans.  It also means asking biologists, not politicians,
>to tell us what it will take to recover and eventually delist an
>imperiled species.  ESRA also improves the critical habitat process by
>requiring the identification of "survival habitat" at the time a
>species is listed, and requiring critical habitat to designated with a
>final recovery plan.  This gives biologists, planners, and landowners
>more information on species' location and needs.
>
>3. REQUIRING FEDERAL AGENCIES TO BE RESPONSIBLE.
>
>ESRA improves the existing ESA by strengthening the checks and
>balances on taxpayer-funded agencies.  While federal actions already
>undergo review to ensure minimal impacts on endangered species,
>federal agencies should also make efforts to further recovery or
>consider the cumulative impacts of their actions.  ESRA requires
>federal agencies to help plan for species recovery and then implement
>those plans within their jurisdictions.  For example, the Bureau of
>Land Management should specify what steps it will take to recover the
>endangered black-footed ferret on its lands in the midwest.  ESRA also
>requires agencies to consider the impacts of their actions on
>imperiled species in other nations.
>
>4. INCREASING CITIZEN PARTICIPATION IN COMMUNITY PLANNING.
>
>ESRA would improve the ESA by expanding opportunities for public
>participation in managing their communities.  By requiring public
>notification when a federal activity may impact wildlife in their
>neighborhoods, ESRA would improve the public's right to know.  ESRA
>would also require balanced public participation in large-scale
>regional habitat planning, as well as allow citizen enforcement when
>their local plans go awry.
>
>
>
>Eric S. Wingerter
>GrassRoots Environmental Effectiveness Network
>1101 Fourteenth St NW, Suite 1400
>Washington, DC  20005
>Tel: (202) 682-9400 x 236
>Fax: (202) 682-1331
>ewingerter@defenders.org
>

Julie Stoneman
Director of Land Programs
Michigan Environmental Council
119 Pere Marquette Dr., Suite 2A
Lansing, MI  48912
ph:     517-487-9539
fax:    517-487-9541
email:  juliemec@sojourn.com



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