ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT
Improper enforcement of the Endangered Species Act poses very real potential threats for private property owners and the economy of the state of Texas. Most counties in the state contain one or more species that may be under consideration for listing in the future. These designations are being determined by U.S. Fish and Wildlife through a process that allows the petitioning entity to make claims of endangerment on sometimes dubious scientific bases.
STPRA agrees with the State Comptroller’s position that property owners and state agencies need to find ways to do the proper science to determine which claims of endangerment are legitimate and which are spurious. Illustrating this point is the case of the golden cheek warbler on Fort Hood, which had to shut down a great bit of operating space until it was scientifically documented that the bird was actually more prolific than claimed originally.
As charged by the Texas Legislature, the Comptroller is head of the Endangered Species Task Force, which is working to prevent a collapse of economic activity on untold thousands of acres of Texas land. The Comptroller successfully fought the listing of the dune sagebrush lizard. Nevertheless, for very convoluted reasons, there was an attempt by the Legislature to dilute then Comptroller Susan Combs' leadership role by passing a bill that would have shifted more authority to the Parks and Wildlife Department. STPRA stood with the Comptroller and asked the Governor to veto the new legislation, which he did.
STPRA whole-heartedly supports the Comptroller’s task force’s efforts to bring rational and factually-based solutions to the protection of endangered species and to balance those considerations with the interests of property owners and the participants and dependents of the state’s economy. We also support Sen. Cornyn’s efforts to restrict frivolous claims of endangerment.