Destructive Reform

Congressman Richard Pombo, chairman of the House Resources Committee, introduced legislation that would sharply curtail the power of the Endangered Species Act (see "Fall of the Wild," cover story, May/June 1999). Pombo has long been a vocal critic of the legislation.

In his September 19 announcement of the bill, Pombo assailed current legislation for having "only recovered 10 of the roughly 1,300 species on its list" and "creat[ing] conflict, bureaucracy and rampant litigation."

In response, environmental groups dismissed Pombo’s statements as spin and asserted that the bill, which passed the House September 29, would accomplish the very opposite of his claims. In particular, analysis by Environmental Defense has shown that two-thirds of the species listed for 13 years or greater have stabilized or increased in population, much more than the 10 that have been de-listed.