Saturday, October 22, 2005

For an Uninformed Opinion of the Endangered Species Act, Ask the Farm Bureau

The New London Day published a story on Friday that reminded me of the good news, in my opinion, that Rhode Island Senator Lincoln Chafee is chairman of the Senate Committee that will oversee any revision of the Federal Endangered Species Act. Chafee is a moderate Republican, and his spokesman made it clear that the pro-extinction bill that passed the House recently will not be introduced in the Senate.

What also interested me was that some people feel free to express an opinion even when they have no idea what they are talking about. Consider, for example, Al Bettencourt of the Rhode Island Farm Bureau and Bonnie Burr of the Connecticut Farm Bureau.

Neither state has any federally listed species, endangered or threatened, that lives on farms.* Nothing that happens on farms in Connecticut or Rhode Island would have any effect on an endangered species, except possibly if a farm produced so much contaminated runoff that it killed shortnose sturgeon in the Connecticut River, assuming any even spawn in the Connecticut River anymore.

Yet that didn't stop Al Bettencourt and Bonnie Burr from mouthing off (it also raises the question of why a reporter would ask them their opinion, but that's for another time). Here's what they said:

"Anything that loosens up the Endangered Species Act, we're in favor of," Al Bettencourt of the Rhode Island Farm Bureau said. "We don't think they should be telling us what to do with our land."

"We certainly support what's happened in the House," said Bonnie Burr of the Connecticut Farm Bureau. She compared the present law to eminent domain, "in the sense that the government tells you what you can and cannot do with your land."

I'm glad we heard from these two experts. Next time there's an issue that has no affect on them, maybe reporters will call again for an irrelevant quote.

* Federally listed species in Connecticut and Rhode Island. Endangered: roseate tern, leatherback sea turtle, Atlantic ridley sea turtle, shortnose sturgeon, dwarf wedge mussel, sandplain gerardia, right whale (RI only), finback whale (RI only), humpback whale (RI only), American burying beetle (RI only), Northeastern beach tiger beetle (RI only). Threatened: bald eagle, piping plover, loggerhead sea turtle, Atlantic green sea turtle, hawksbills sea turtle (RI only) bog turtle (Ct. only), Puritan tiger beetle (Ct. only), and small whorled pogonia and seabeach amaranth.


Blogger Mike C said...

Thanks for a great read Tom.
Farm Bureaus dictate actions in the management of our natural resources to the point of being downright dangerous to our health and well-being.
How very sad.


12:31 PM  

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