Clements: The Endangered Species Act is in need of reform that benefits both conservation and farming practices, according to the Farm Bureau. Arizona Farm Bureau Federation President Stefanie Smallhouse urged Congress Thursday to streamline environmental regulations to preserve ranching as well as the land itself.
Smallhouse: The ESA is outdated. It needs to be modernized. The conservation of species and the production of food and fiber are not mutually exclusive, which means we should be able to do both at the same time.
Clements: A fifth-generation rancher, Smallhouse says the ESA in its current form is flawed.
Smallhouse: The 20 species that we have listed for our property, there’s no data to substantiate that, it was just a general listing and that’s what happens a lot with the ESA. And, the critical habitat that has been identified doesn’t actually exist on our ranch. So, we have four fish that are listed, and the critical habitat are waterways and they don’t have any water.
Clements: Smallhouse suggested basic updates to the act that would better align the legislation to the needs of the public.
Smallhouse: One of those would be to require stronger data in the listing process. What they really need is the best available scientific data. The data needs to be transparent. I, as a landowner, should be able to see the documents which were used to substantiate the listing. Also, local governments should be more involved in the listing process.
Clements: Micheal Clements, Washington.