by Matthew Weaver
Representative: 'We've found this is a litigant's dream'
A Washington congressman wants to make the Endangered Species Act more transparent.
Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., and chair of the House Natural Resources Committee, will head a working group that will study the Endangered Species Act.
Environmental Protection Agency buffer zones on stream habitat could close roughly 40 percent of Washington State's agriculture, he said, driven by the Endangered Species Act for fish in the rivers.
Hastings hopes to find a way to re-authorize all or part of the act to allow more transparency in how listings are done.
Hastings said he's tried to determine how much taxpayer dollars are spent in defending the act in court, and hasn't received the figure.
"We've found this is a litigant's dream," he said. "The money that lawyers are making (is) tremendous. It's not doing what the act is designed to do, and that's save species."
The working group is primarily comprised of Republicans, but Hastings said the working group will invite groups to testify in forums throughout the country.
Rep. Hastings Pushes 'Save Our Dams' Bill by Courtney Flatt, Oregon Public Broadcasting 8/15/12
Congressman Finds Columbia River Ruling Alarming by Congressman Doc Hastings, Natural Resource Report, 8/23/11
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