Calling the Endangered Species Act abused by activists and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples, in testimony to the United States House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources this week, warned that such abuse threatens the economy and the rights of rural land holders.

The committee is holding an oversight hearing, titled “Taxpayer-Funded Litigation: Benefitting Lawyers and Harming Species, Jobs and Schools,” which is examining how litigious groups use the Endangered Species Act and other federal laws to hinder species recovery, jobs and education.

“It is clear the ESA has been used to accomplish the goals of radicals and those seeking to expand the reach of government,” Staples communicated to the Committee in a prepared statement of testimony. “Congress needs to step in to end this game of ‘endangered chicken’ once and for all. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is recklessly driving the taxpayers’ truck on a collision course with our economy, food producers, true species steward landowners and taxpayers. Let’s hope Congress takes the keys away before more damage is done.”

Staples has long been critical of what he terms the over use and abuse of the act and says Congressional action is the only way to stop what he calls the radical use of legislation which can be a detriment of the species the law was intended to protect.