Letter: Endangered Species Act

February 9, 2014 

The Tri-City Herald ran a front-page piece Jan. 27 with the headline, "Rep. Hastings seeks changes to Endangered Species Act." It would be helpful to understand exactly what the proposed changes are. Doc Hastings, Republican from Pasco, heads the House Committee on Natural Resources. Every time I see that title I get the feeling it should represent protection for our natural resources. It makes you wonder, are the proposed changes protecting our natural resources or are they targeted at reducing the protections afforded in the Act as it now stands?

The Endangered Species Act has a history of success. Check the current status of the American Bald Eagle. The Act provided protection and made all the difference in the full recovery of that species.

Understanding the proposed changes will put the public in a position to provide Congress with intelligent feedback on the path forward. Any proposed changes must continue to support the protection of endangered species and our natural resources. Hastings, as the head of the natural resources committee in the House of Representatives, has an obligation to the people to keep this as a first priority.

DICK WATTS, West Richland

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