Yesterday I participated in a forum in Sonora convened by my colleague, Congressman Tom McClintock, on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s proposed listing of the Sierra Nevada Yellow-legged Frog and the Yosemite Toad as endangered species. Around 400 people turned out for the event, with the vast majority expressing opposition to USFW’s action.
With the listing, 2 million acres of land will be designated as a critical habitat for these amphibians. This action stands to drastically limit recreational and business activities in this enormous area, including timber harvesting, cattle grazing, fishing, hunting, mining, ranching, rafting, hiking, cross-country-skiing, snowmobiling, snow-shoeing, and eco-tourism, among others.
This decision will damage local economies and local communities in exchange for little if any benefit. There is no clear evidence that human activity has caused any decline in either of these species, or that the proposed designations will arrest any projected decline in their populations.
In other words, the proposed habitat has a low probability of improving populations of a low-value species, but there’s absolute certainty it will cost human beings their jobs and their freedom to enjoy this country’s natural treasures.
Here once again, we see the environmental movement colluding with government to harass hard-working Americans engaged in productive business or harmless recreation. This decision is a travesty. But in light of the on-going damage wrought by the pernicious alliance of Big Government and Big Green – including the man-made drought that is plaguing farmers throughout the San Joaquin Valley – I expect this destructive action won’t raise many objections in either Sacramento or the White House.