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Endangered Species Act Questions

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NBCRightNow.com- Tests recently proved the White Bluffs Bladderpod is not endangered, but it is shining a spotlight on other issues surrounding the Endangered Species Act.

Franklin County Commissioner Brad Peck and Representative Doc Hastings attended a hearing last Thursday before the House Natural Resources Committee in Washington D.C.

"The endangered species act really has been, I think a legislative disaster," said Peck, "Through the bladderpod situation in Franklin County, we've seen how it can be used by environmental groups that are intent on and really control as much as listing plants and animals as endangered," he said. 

Representative Hastings called for the hearing, to address the effects of listing plants and animals as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. 

"What we're pointing out here is parts of the endangered species act that simply isn't working," said Rep. Hastings. 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife service had proposed declaring thousands of acres in Franklin County as critical habitat to protect the White Bluff's Bladderpod. But DNA testing proved the plant is not endangered.

"This is an excellent illustration of how the endangered species act is being sloppily and improperly applied in ways that have very damaging effects on local communities," Peck said. 

The Endangered Species Act has not been amended in 25 years. Rep. Hastings said there needs to be more transparency because it is affecting private money. 

"Nobody wants to see any species go away but you want to make your decisions based on good science and good evidence and in this case its pretty obvious to me that good evidence wasn't there," said Rep. Hastings

Local farmer Kent McMullen also testified at the hearing on behalf of the residents affected by the bladderpod listing. Congressman Hastings said he has put together a group to work on amending the Endangered Species Act and he is planning more hearings on the issue throughout the country.