Endangered species acts in addition to the obvious goal of protecting endangered species, are sensitive “canaries in the coal mines,” that warn us of dangers before it is too late. If today’s endangered species are allowed to die out because we can’t afford to protect their environments we will be much less likely to realize it when something is terribly wrong with our environment and will ourselves become endangered.
The following is edited from an alert I just received from the Mass. Land Trust Coalition. I hope House Bill 4167 is soundly defeated if up comes up for a vote on the House floor. It is a prime example of a small short term savings that will generated huge long term costs.
Rep. Cheryl Coakley-Rivera and Sen. Stephen Buoniconti have introduced House Bill 4167, An Act designating natural heritage functions of the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Environmental Law Enforcement. This bill would severely limit the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act and curtail the vital work of the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program.
This bill poses a great threat to the 400 plant and animal species listed as endangered, threatened, or of special concern. Combined with the complete loss of all general funding to the Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program, this is the most serious attack on our Endangered Species Act we’ve ever seen. The Springfield legislators’ bill limits the authority of the Heritage Program to review development projects slated to take place in “significant habitat.” The Rivera-Buoniconti bill would strangle endangered species protection in Massachusetts.