San Mateo County supervisors will consider passing a resolution Tuesday affirming the Endangered Species Act, a 33-year-old bill that may be jeopardized itself by pending federal legislation authored by a California representative.
Supervisor Jerry Hill will ask the board to pass a resolution continuing support of the act and pressing the necessity to keep it intact. The act is particularly important to San Mateo County, according to Hill’s proposal, because more than 200 species of endangered animals reside in the Bay Area.
"Many of them residing in San Mateo County refuses such as Montara Mountain, Edgewood Preserve, San Bruno Mountain and the wetlands of Rockaway Beach and those adjacent to Belle Air Elementary School in San Bruno, are officially designated species of concern and have been listed as threatened or endangered,” Hill stated in a memo on the resolution.
In Edgewood Preserve alone, 10 endangered plant species live including the San Mateo Thormint, according to county data. The park also houses the endangered Bay Checkerspot butterfly.
Created in 1973, the Endangered Species Act has continually stirred up controversy between environmentalists and property owners. U.S. Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Tracy, recently introduced legislation to amend the act in ways opponents believe will lead to more extinct or threatened species. Proponents say the rewrites will give landowners tax breaks for protecting plants and animals.
Pombo’s bill, passed by the House in September, compensates property owners if protection requirements impede development. If passed, the bill also limits "critical habitat” designations and lets some politicians make scientific determinations about whether species are endangered.
The county resolution carries no legal weight but could send a message to elected leaders.
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