Support The Endangered Species Act

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Editor:

A Mr. Welge recently wrote a letter condemning the Endangered Species Act.

Unfortunately he does not seem to understand the law or its ramifications.

For instance, he is upset that it protects the snail darter and the kangaroo rat. Beyond the fact that these species should be allowed to exist on their own merits, a quick trip back to Biology 101 reminds us that all species are interconnected and destruction along the food chain can have devastating effects all the way up. For instance, the plankton that form the basis of life in the oceans are microscopic and insignificant on their own, but without them the oceans would die.

He complains that the law causes higher oil prices because we can't drill in places like ANWAR in Alaska, but a quick check shows us that such drilling wouldn't fuel the U.S. for even a year in a best case scenario. Do we trade significant species of wildlife for insignificant amounts of oil?

He laments the law's use against hydropower projects. The law has perhaps stopped some pork barrel dam projects around the U.S., but there are virtually no significant wild rivers left to dam, Endangered Species Act or not.

And as any farmer can tell you, agricultural product prices have been sinking in the years since the law was passed, though the law probably had nothing to do with that one way or the other.

People with extremist ideas like Mr. Welge want to pose a Nirvana to us if we would just get the environmentalists off our back and let big business destroy the natural world. Beyond the moral reprehensibility of this, it doesn't make economic sense for Payson or Arizona. What tourist wants to visit a state known for its natural beauty if the forests are clear cut, the rivers are dead, and the birds and animals are gone? The ruse that you will save a penny a gallon for gas or get a dime off a pound of tomatoes by sacrificing the flora and fauna of America is made even more ridiculous because you will save nothing. It only benefits some short sighted profiteers at the expense of our National Heritage.

I would urge you to call your congressmen to ask for support for the Endangered Species Act as it has come under attack from these profiteers.

As Teddy Roosevelt said: "It is entirely in our power as a nation to preserve large tracts of wilderness...for rich and poor alike, and to preserve the game...But this end can only be achieved by wise laws and by a resolute enforcement of the laws."

Megan A. Crane, Payson

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