Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA) introduced bill H.R. 3824 which would gut the Endangered Species Act (ESA). By a vote of 229-193, Congress took the first step toward gutting the 30 year old ESA. The bill eliminates habitat protection measures for fish and wildlife facing extinction; creates an exemption for the approval of potentially dangerous pesticides and establishes a new entitlement program for developers and polluters. According to the Congressional Budget Office, this legislation will cost the U. S. taxpayer $2,000,000,000 ($2.7 billion) over the next 5 years. The bill would require the Government to pay developers, the oil industry and polluters to avoid destroying the habitat of publicly owned fish and wildlife. Pombo is also working to push for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and sell off National Parks to private interests, according to a Sierra Club press release. And in New Jersey, voting YES (against the environment) was Congressman Scott Garrett (R-5th). According to a spokesperson for the Sierra Club: `American children would be left a future with more strip malls than salmon runs and more freeways than fox dens. The hope is now with the U. S. Senate to stave off similar attempts to rewrite Americašs conservation priorities and surrender to special interests'.