The Oregonian [“Shotgun conservation,”
There is, however, no law prohibiting modification or repeal of legislation which turns out to have been unwise.
As the Oregonian itself notes, we have destroyed a major segment of the
Before spending scarce taxpayer dollars to shoot barred owls, officials should visit the
The climate and other characteristics of our planet are constantly changing. New species better suited to new conditions are evolving and old ones that can’t adapt are disappearing. We should not exaggerate our ability to stop nature from doing its thing.
Nor should we try to do so without taking the side effects and costs into account. No doubt survival of the spotted owl would be a good thing. But there are many other good things that these same tax dollars could be used for.
The most interesting argument in the “Shotgun conservation” editorial was in the next to last paragraph” “It is too soon to give up on the spotted owl. The Northwest has already sacrificed so much—thousands of jobs, entire rural communities---to create a survivable space in old growth forests for this species.” This sounds suspiciously like arguments that the
So perhaps we need to think again about the Endangered Species Act and at least amend it so we can give up on protecting species whose prospects are not good when the costs of doing so are excessive. A state whose people could tolerate policies destroying most jobs in logging should be able to handle disappearance of the spotted owls, if it comes to that.
Spotted owls or no spotted owls, there are excellent reasons why we might want to protect old growth forests. But regulations aimed directly at this goal could make more sense and be more efficient than the present approach.