Endangered species activists unhappy with Obama budget

Feb 20, 2012

Ag folks aren’t the only ones complaining about President Barack Obama’s proposed budget. The budget has created some unusual bedfellows; groups like the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) are both dissatisfied with Obama’s fiscal proposal.

Admittedly, the shared displeasure is where the similarities end.

According to a press release from CBD—a nonprofit endangered species activist group which specializes in petitions on behalf of the Endangered Species Act—the group opposes Obama’s budget as it requests $1.3 billion in allocations for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, of which just under $22.5 million would go to the identification and protection of endangered species.

The group’s biggest bone of contention centers around Obama’s suggested caps on individual species funding and other areas of enforcement. Some of the caps most enflaming to the group are those limiting funding of designating critical habitat ($7.4 million), listing species in response to petitions ($1.5 million), and listing foreign species ($1.5 million).

However, the proposed funding limits on endangered species protection might be a welcome relief to conservation-minded ranchers whose private efforts have long been overlooked by the petition-signing public. Whether such funding limits will make life easier for agriculture will have to be seen and depend on Obama’s budget being accepted, something he hasn’t been able to claim yet. — Kerry Halladay, WLJ Editor