Congress To Re-Examine Endangered Species Act

The House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on December 6, 2011 regarding the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The hearing is expected to focus on how litigation involving the ESA is costing jobs, impacting the economy, and preventing species recovery.

According to Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.), the committee’s chairman, the hearing will be the first of many that the Natural Resources Committee will hold to examine both the strengths and weaknesses of the ESA. Hastings has said that the law is failing to achieve its fundamental goal of species recovery, and is being used by special interest groups “to file lawsuits and drain resources away from real recovery efforts.”

The goal of the hearings is to update the ESA in a “calm, careful, and bipartisan way.” According to the News Tribune, Chairman Hastings stated that it has been over two decades since the ESA was last reauthorized, and it’s the responsibility of Congress to undertake a thoughtful analysis of the law to see what improvements could be made to ensure that it works for both species and people.  (News Tribune, Nov. 28, 2011, Rob Hotakainen.)

The Natural Resources Committee announced its intent to examine the ESA last summer. A witness list for the December 6, 2011 hearing has not yet been released.
 

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