Snuffing out wildlife

Already this year there have been three legislative attempts to undermine the Endangered Species Act — all initiated or supported by Texas lawmakers. On Jan. 27, Reps. Michael Burgess, Louie Gohmert and Brian Babin sponsored HR 717, a ridiculous House bill that would require the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to conduct a review of economic costs before adding a species to the endangered or threatened species list. The last thing the embattled USFWS needs is more bureaucratic busy work that further delays federal protections for endangered species!

On Feb. 16, Sen. John Cornyn introduced two bills. His “Endangered Species Act Settlement Reform Act” (SB 375) would allow states and localities to weigh in on the listing-related settlement process and alter the court’s ability to award reimbursements for ESA-related litigation costs. This bill would make it even more difficult for endangered species to get the protection they desperately need in a timely manner. A recent University of Missouri study shows citizen lawsuits against excessive delays in listing critically endangered species have been effective in speeding up federal protection for these species.

Cornyn’s other bill, the “21st Century Endangered Species Transparency Act” (SB 376), would place another unreasonable administrative burden on the USFWS by requiring it to publish an online database of all studies and other decision-making documents concerning endangered species. Such information is already available upon request.

Cornyn’s bills serve no useful purpose. They would further delay species protection, would be burdensome for the USFWS if enacted and would increase the extinction risk for America’s imperiled wildlife. These bills should be withdrawn.

Waldo Montgomery, Belton

Human trafficking

Kudos for publishing the excellent Texas Tribune series on human trafficking and to “Unbound” and other organizations dedicated to freeing people from this horrible evil.The series implied, by silence, that only females can be victims of human trafficking. I asked the director of Unbound about this and she answered that males are also among the victims. Because most people don’t suspect this, it would have been helpful for the series to have at least mentioned it or even featured one such case.

Roger Olson, Waco

Life is short

The greatest gift you can give is your time. Thank you, Mrs. Jackie, for taking time from your busy life to help me get my walker out of the car, hold the car door open (as the wind was strong) and even walk back to the post office door to hold it open for me. “Life is short, and we do not have much time to gladden the hearts of those who travel with us. So be quick to love and make haste to be kind.”I appreciate the time you gave to me so much.

J.B. Cobb, Waco