Saving the Sea Turtles…But at What Cost?

The Obama Administration recently announced their intentions to move the loggerhead turtle from the “threatened species” list to the “endangered species” list. Protection groups cite current fishing methods as the primary reason for the sudden decline in population, and want the federal government to impose stricter fishing laws in order to protect the turtles. However, such regulations bring trouble to the fishing industry – an industry already weighed down by the federal government. David Godfrey, director of the Caribbean Conservation Corporation, wants the administration to go so far as to “impose year-round restrictions on certain fishing in the Gulf of Mexico and to require that commercial fishing nets include devices to let turtles escape.” The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says it is open to public comment on the issue, though the new regulations could go into effect as early as summer 2011.

The Loggerhead turtle issue is not the only way the government wants to restrict US industry and property rights. Last November the EPA put out a study entitled “A Framework for Categorizing the Relative Vulnerability of Threatened and Endangered Species to Climate Change” which could change the formula used to place animals on the endangered species list. Using their new proposed framework, dozens of new species could appear on the lists, which would place restrictions on land used as habitats for those animals. Such a change would impact development and exploration of land all over the United States and negatively effect economic development across the nation.

In a time when economic development is so critical, the Obama Administration should oppose both of these propositions in an effort to maintain the property rights of US citizens and businesses and to promote economic development in all forms.