For all the years of fighting over the spotted owl in the Northwest, a Senate hearing Thursday on changing the Endangered Species Act brought out some common ground.
Testimony from environmentalists, timber industry supporters, fishing interests and government officials showed common interests.
Those ideas included streamlining the act, increasing the powers of state and local governments, acting on sound scientific principles to protect ecosystems rather than single species, and giving private property owners economic incentives, rather than threats of fines, to protect the environment.
His suggestion was echoed by Glen Spain of the Pacific Coast Federation of
Fishermen’s Associations wants to keep the act strong to restore the waning salmon fishing industry.
“The hardest-core environment group, salmon fishermen and the timber industry all want to prevent listing a species as endangered,” Spain added after the hearing. “That demands an ecosystem approach.” The Senate’s first hearing on the Endangered Species Act outside Washington, D.C., was held in Roseburg because of the economic impact over saving the northern spotted owl, said Sen. Bob Packwood, R-Ore.
Throughout the battle over the owl, there has been little agreement between environmentalists and the timber industry. And major disagreement remains over whether the owl has hurt or helped the economy.