Wednesday, November 29, 2006

What is an HCP? A license to kill endangered species.

When it comes to Green Diamond and Pacific Lumber, a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) is basically an agreement with the government accepting greater environmental protections in some areas in exchange for permits to kill endangered species and/or destroy their habitat. This opens up forest areas that were formerly off-limits. The permits are called "Incidental Take" permits.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service says, "Take" is defined in the Act as any action that would "harrass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture or collect," any threatened or endangered species. It also includes significant habitat destruction that could harm a listed species.

Lumber companies like Green Diamond don't just agree to extra environmental restrictions because they were in a good mood. There has to be a financial incentive somewhere in the plan. My real question is where , geographically, is Green Diamond's financial incentive in being allowed to "Take" endangered species?

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