Center for Biological Diversity

Protecting endangered species and wild places through
science, policy, education, and environmental law.

May 11, 2006

TO: National Media

FROM: Kieran Suckling, (520) 275-5960

RE: It's Endangered Species Day, Pombo Must Be Lying

While the rest of the country is celebrating Endangered Species Day at the bipartisan invitation of the U.S. Senate, Congressman Richard Pombo (R-CA) is busy sending out press releases attacking the Endangered Species Act. The press has repeatedly caught Pombo lying about endangered species. Whether it's killer elderberry beetles, rampaging kit foxes, insidious manatees, or fierce flower-loving flies, Mr. Pombo just can't talk about endangered species without lying.

This afternoon the Endangered Species Day grinch sent out a press release informing the world that "The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) concludes that the ESA is Not Performing (emphasis original). Very dramatic. In fact, the OMB has never conducted a study of the Endangered Species Act and it did not conclude the Act is underperforming. Pombo lied.

A quick look at the OMB report reveals that it was a study of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service performance measures and monitoring programs, not species' recovery rates. The OMB concluded that the agency does not have adequate performance measures or monitoring programs and thus its performance level can not be determined:

"While the program has a clear purpose, the program lacks long-term outcome and annual output-oriented performance measures to assess results. In the past, the program has reported annual performance measures that are more long-term in nature, such as species recovered. The program has not measured key aspects of the program, such as effectiveness of Habitat Conservation Plans."

Ironically, Mr. Pombo is great proponent of so-called Habitat Conservation Plans (HCPs). Had he bothered to read the study instead of lying about it, perhaps he'd caution against the proliferation of HCPs without adequate monitoring. At any rate, the report is not about species recovery trends and it certainly did not conclude "that the ESA is not performing."

Shame on you, Mr. Pombo.

Kieran Suckling
Policy Director
Center for Biological Diversity
Tucson, AZ 85702
(520) 623-5252 x305


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