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Saturday, June 12, 2004

Where's the mouse?

The Endagered Species Act, thank you Richard Nixon, has been used by those who do not like private property rights to steal property and the ultimate value of that property without just compensation. One example has been application of the ESA to protect the habitat for the Preble jumping mouse, which some have estimated might have cost private individuals up to $100m.

So what's the problem? It turns out the species listed and protected by the ESA might not exist.
"After six years of regulations and restrictions that have cost builders, local governments and landowners an estimated $100 million, new research suggests the "threatened" Preble's mouse in fact never existed. It instead seems to be genetically identical to the Bear Lodge meadow jumping mouse, which is considered common enough not to need protection."

So, if the mouse doesn't exist, it cannot be endagered, hence the name can come off the list and the property that has been frozen to protect the environment of our non-existent friend can be released, right? Wrong.
"Indeed, environmental groups are now calling for Endangered Species Act protection for the Bear Lodge mouse. They say that subspecies - which had been thought to be limited to the Black Hills of South Dakota and Wyoming but now appears to exist as far south as Colorado Springs - suffers from the same habitat degradation.

The Preble's mouse was established as a distinct subspecies by a study 50 years ago that was cited in the 1998 decision to declare it threatened."

The 1954 study was done using ocular comparison of "three skulls and eleven skins." The latest study uses mitochondrial DNA to guarantee that the two types of mice are the same - and much more common that that required by the ESA for protected status.
The claim by those who want to protect the Bear Lodge mouse:
"They point out that Ramey's study has not been peer-reviewed. They also highlight criticism from Ramey's scientific peers that he did not compare the nuclear DNA, the molecular building blocks of entire organisms, of the mice subspecies - something Ramey has begun examining at the Fish and Wildlife Service's request.

And Jeremy Nichols, spokesman for the Biodiversity Conservation Alliance in Laramie, Wyo., attacked Ramey's impartiality.

'Ramey has a clear anti-Endangered Species Act agenda,' he said. 'He's been testifying in Washington, D.C., in front of committees headed by members of Congress who would like nothing better than having the Endangered Species Act thrown away.'"
So, if you testify in front of Congress for something that the environmentalists are against, then you have the motivation (and the ABILITY) to manipulate DNA evidence.

The upshot: Many people in the environmentalist movement (especially the spokespeople) do not seem to care much about saving specific animals, species (real or imagined), nor in (free market) ideas that might lead to better results. Rather, the movement as seems interested in weilding control over other people's private property. If the environmentalists really wanted to save the Bear Lodge mouse, they could raise private funds, buy the property, take the land off the market and not develop it. If they did this, I bet the Bear Lodge mouse would live long and prosper.

Instead, the environmental movement uses the power of the state to tell individuals what they can do with their own private property. There is a term for that - FASCISM (read more about fascism).

Exquisite information on dna testing. I have a dna testing secrets blog if you want to see some cool stuff.
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