Kempthorne and the ESA


Here is an interesting post from Jon Meacham of Newsweek on a recent interview between Newsweek reporter Dan Stone and Secretary Kempthorne. The latter took the reporter outside on the balcony of the Interior Building following a news conference, and observed:

"Every morning a small bird comes here and sings the most beautiful songs," he told Dan. Then he turned to face the vista of trees. "This, Daniel, is what we're talking about," Kempthorne said. "This is what's at stake."

Unfortunately, chirping birds and treelined vistas are not what the modern environmental movement, especially in its litigious form, is about. Rather, that movement uses charismatic species like the polar bear and the bald eagle to convince the public of the goods of environmentalism, but then demands also the protection of seemingly unimportant species like cave bugs, toads, flies, and snail darters, all at great economic and social cost. If the Secretary really believes in an old-school benign conservationism, then he is far more out-of-touch than any of his most virulent critics on the Left contend.