Thursday, February 14, 2019

States deserve a seat at the table when listing species as endangered

Washington, D.C. - February 14, 2019 - (The Ponder News) -- If a federal agency is going to list a species as endangered, they are supposed to utilize the best scientific and commercial data available. But Congressional hearings have revealed numerous examples of agencies failing to follow these rules.

To address this problem, U.S. Senators Senator Michael B. Enzi - (R - WY), Senator James E. Risch (R - ID), and Senator Pat Roberts (R - KS), introduced legislation that would require the federal government to disclose the data it uses for Endangered Species Act (ESA) listings. It would also ensure that ESA decisions are more reliant on the input of state, local and tribal studies.

“When an animal is categorized as an endangered species, it is the states and local communities that are most impacted, but currently they can’t verify, dispute or complement the information federal agencies use,” Enzi said. “This legislation would ensure that state, local and tribal entities would have a seat at the table when federal agencies are proposing regulations that could have significant ramifications. Wyoming has some of the richest wildlife habitat in the world, and that is why we should encourage an open process that relies on the best data available.”

“We need to put states and local communities back in the driver’s seat when it comes to the wildlife conservation and management efforts that so greatly affect them,” Risch said. “By incorporating on the ground information and decision-makers, this legislation makes important strides in that effort.”

“Like we saw when the Obama Administration listed the lesser prairie chicken, many local factors related to the health of the species were either ignored or disregarded,” Roberts said. “This bill will ensure the federal government is transparent in its determinations and also that it considers information from state and local sources.”

The State, Tribal, and Local Species Transparency and Recovery Act is designed to ensure the federal government adheres to its legal responsibilities to cooperate with states under the Endangered Species Act and that the best available scientific data is used in listing decisions.


Washington, D.C. - February 14, 2019 - (The Ponder News) -- U.S. Senator Senator Tammy Ducksworth (D - IL) issued the following statement after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) announced a proposal that would roll back the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule under the Clean Water Act of 1972. Duckworth is the top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Subcommittee on Fisheries, Water, and Wildlife.

“This decision by the Trump Administration threatens access to clean, safe drinking water for millions of Americans, especially low income families and communities of color who are facing drinking water challenges associated with pollution, affordability and extreme weather. For more than 45 years, our nation has counted on the Clean Water Act to move us towards a future where all of our waters are clean enough to drink and enjoy recreationally. This move puts that future in jeopardy, and makes it easier for corporate polluters to contaminate our streams and waterways. As Ranking Member on the Subcommittee with oversight of these issues, I’ll continue working with my colleagues to protect every American’s right to clean, safe drinking water.”

Read also:

EPA WOTUS Rule will Crush Property Rights and Cost Millions

Sen. Cruz: It Is Only Right El Chapo's Ill-Gotten Gains Go to Securing the Border and Stopping the Next Narco Traffickers

Washington, D.C. - February 14, 2019 - (The Ponder News) -- On Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations appeared on ‘Fox News @ Night’ with Shannon Bream where he discussed his EL CHAPO Act and the ongoing crisis in Venezuela.

When asked about the El CHAPO Act, Sen. Cruz described the bill as just, saying, “It is only right that those ill-gotten gains go to fixing the problems and stopping the next Narco traffickers.”

“We need to vote on it,” Sen. Cruz said. “A number of months ago when we were starting to really vigorously debate the border wall and Democrats were going on and on saying that it was too expensive, that they didn't want to spend money on it. […] I happened to be reading at the time that the estimates to build a robust wall at the time were between 14 and $20 billion. At the same time, I read that the Department of Justice estimates of the global worth of El Chapo's criminal network worldwide were roughly $14 billion. There is a natural and elegant symmetry that suggested itself. So I filed the EL CHAPO Act, which says all money criminally forfeited from El Chapo and from any other drug lord shall be used for border security and to build the wall. And that means we can do this without spending even a penny of taxpayer money, but not only that: there is a justice to it. Those billions that El Chapo has were made trafficking illegally across the U.S. border, bringing narcotics across the border. And it is only right that those ill-gotten gains go to fixing the problems and stopping the next Narco traffickers.”

Bream also asked about the United States’ response to the ongoing crisis in Venezuela.

“Nicolas Maduro, and Hugo Chavez before him, are enemies of America,” Sen. Cruz said. “They oppress their people. Maduro is illegitimate. He is seizing power - you want to talk about a coup? Maduro is using military force to stay in office and he is not the legitimately elected leader of Venezuela. Juan Guaidó is instead. And so the president is quite right, as have most of the nations in the community of civilized nations have recognized Juan Guaidó as the legitimately elected leader of Venezuela. And the leftists in the Democratic party need to stop siding with the communists against the United States of America. That's not good for our country.”

Sen. Cruz continued, noting every military leader in Venezuela has a choice to make: cling to a dictator and oppressor as he falls, or stand with the nation, constitution, and people of Venezuela.

“The rule of law matters,” Sen. Cruz said. “Right now, do you know how many generals there are in Venezuela? There are over 3,000 generals. It's an incredible - they are largely disparate and right now the big question is where are the generals going to line up? And what I’ve publicly called on the generals to do is say look, you are facing a choice: do you stand with Maduro? The tyrant who is on his way out, who is losing power? Or do you stand with the people of Venezuela? Do you stand with the constitution? Do you stand with the legitimately elected leadership? One of the things that President Guaidó’s government has promised to do is to hold free and fair elections so let the people of Venezuela have a choice. But the choice shouldn't be a leftist communist strongman who is murdering the people, who is torturing the people, who is oppressing the people. And by the way, for all those Democrats who are big fans of socialism, well, you can see where the Green New Deal ends up. It ends up in Venezuela - once one of the most prosperous countries in Latin America, and now people literally starving in the streets.”

Love Always! One Dozen Roses Vased

Love Always! One Dozen Roses Vased

Send your love with one dozen beautiful long-stem roses vased with accents and delivered by our florists. When ordering simply indicate your color preference.


Washington, D.C. - February 14, 2019 - (The Ponder News) -- Idaho Senator Mike Crapo this afternoon voted to support a measure that will keep the government open while also funding projects to secure our border. Following the vote, Crapo issued this comment:

“I supported today’s measure because it takes a step toward making our communities safer. Bicameral, bipartisan appropriators diligently advanced a compromise proposal that addresses urgent priorities in the seven outstanding appropriations packages. For homeland security, this agreement provides more than $1.3 billion for physical security barriers along portions of our border that have been designated as the highest priority by our Border Patrol. Additionally, it provides an unprecedented $22.5 billion for overall border security initiatives that includes law enforcement personnel and drug trafficking prevention. Locally, this bill will also fund the Payment in Lieu of Taxes program, which provides funding to Idaho’s counties to make up for lost revenues from federal ownership of lands.

“The President has also indicated he intends to declare a national emergency to use specific powers to secure our border. We need additional physical barriers securing our border. In the coming days, I will work closely with my Senate colleagues and with the White House to learn the details of the President’s intentions and how they will be implemented.”

The bill now goes to the U.S. House of Representatives.

See also:

Durbin Statement On Bipartisan Agreement To Fund The Government

Feinstein Statement on Government Funding Bill

Fischer Statement on Bipartisan Border Security Agreement

Senator Hassan Statement on Border Security and Government Funding Agreement

Heinrich Votes To Keep Government Open, Decries Trump Abuse Of Power On Declaring National Emergency



Cotton, Jones Introduce Bill to Allow Homeschool Participation in JROTC

Washington, D.C. - February 14, 2019 - (The Ponder News) -- Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Senator Doug Jones (D-Alabama) today introduced legislation clarifying that all Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC) programs are required to accept homeschool students who reside in their jurisdiction. JROTC is a voluntary program for high school students run by the military and designed to teach citizenship and leadership. Its mission is "to instill in students in United States secondary educational institutions the values of citizenship, service to the United States, personal responsibility, and a sense of accomplishment." Current law does not specify whether JROTC is open to homeschool students, resulting in a patchwork of polices between programs that denies some students the opportunity to participate in JROTC.

"JROTC is a valuable program that provides high school age students with discipline, confidence, and skills they will carry with them throughout their lives. We should be looking for ways to make these programs more inclusive, not keeping kids out. This bill will make clear that the benefits of JROTC are available to all students who want them, including those pursuing their education at home," said Cotton.

"For more than a century, JROTC programs have provided excellent opportunities for young folks to develop leadership skills, responsibility, and character and to learn the value of service to our country. Unfortunately, it's not clear whether students who are educated at home are allowed to participate. With an estimated 1.5 million American children in home-schooling today, including more than 20,000 in Alabama, we should be taking steps to make certain these young men and women can participate in this important program. I encourage my colleagues to support this bill that will ensure that any eligible student could take part in JROTC," said Jones.

Congressman Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) plans to introduce companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC) Background:

  • JROTC programs exist in all 50 states and American schools overseas (including Germany, Japan, Korea, Italy, Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands).
  • has an estimated enrollment of over 500,000 students.
  • is not a military recruiting program, and students in the program have no obligation to serve in the military.
  • programs include leadership training and classroom instruction emphasizing service history and traditions.