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Endangered Species Law and Policy

Category Archives: Congress

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House Passes ESA Reform Package

Posted in Congress, Legislation, Regulatory Reform

On July 29, 2014, the U.S. House of Representatives passed Endangered Species Act (ESA) reform legislation introduced by members of the House Natural Resources Committee. As previously reported, the legislation consists of four bills seeking to amend the ESA by, among other things, requiring federal agencies to release to the public all data used to… Continue Reading

House Approves Bill Requiring the Executive Branch to Report Fees Awarded To Prevailing Parties

Posted in Congress, Legislation

Yesterday, the House of Representatives approved the Open Book on Equal Access to Justice Act (H.R. 2919), which would amend existing law to require the Executive Branch to provide an annual report to Congress on the amount of fees and other expenses awarded to prevailing parties, other than the United States, in certain administrative proceedings and civil suits, including… Continue Reading

Natural Resources Committee Discusses Endangered Species Act Reform

Posted in Congress, Fish & Wildlife Service, Regulatory Reform

Earlier this week, the House Natural Resources Committee held a hearing to discuss Endangered Species Act (ESA) reform. The hearing focused on four bills that seek to require data and spending transparency under the ESA. As previously reported, an ESA Congressional working group released a final report stating that the ESA “is not working.” The… Continue Reading

Proposed Bill Seeks to Require Federal Agencies to Count Species on State, Tribal, and Private Lands before Listing the Species under the ESA

Posted in Congress, Fish & Wildlife Service, Legislation, Regulatory Reform

Republican Congressman Chris Stewart (UT) recently introduced a bill (pdf) that would amend the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to require federal wildlife agencies to include the number of species found on state, tribal, and private lands in its official count when determining whether a species should be protected under the ESA.  Currently, the ESA does not include… Continue Reading

Congressional Working Group Seeks Reform of the Endangered Species Act

Posted in Congress, Legislation, Regulatory Reform

Members of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) Congressional Working Group recently released a final report (pdf) asserting that the ESA “is not working” and providing four recommendations for improvement. The report is the result of an eight-month effort led by Republican Representatives Doc Hastings (WA) and Cynthia Lummis (WY) to examine the ESA. The group… Continue Reading

Congress Exempts U.S. Population of Endangered Species From ESA

Posted in Congress

On January 17, 2014, President Obama signed into law the $1.1 trillion dollar Omnibus Spending Bill, thereby funding the federal government through October 1.  Included in the Bill was a provision directing the Secretary of the Interior to reinstate an exemption that exempted the scimitar-horned oryx (Oryx dammah), the dama gazelle (Gazella dama), and the… Continue Reading

House Natural Resources Committee to Hold Hearing on Department of the Interior’s 2011 Endangered Species Act Settlements

Posted in Congress, Fish & Wildlife Service, Regulatory Reform

On Thursday, December 12, 2013, the House Natural Resources Committee (Committee) will hold a full committee oversight hearing (pdf) titled “ESA Decisions by Closed-Door Settlement: Short-Changing Science, Transparency, Private Property, and State & Local Economies.” This hearing is part of a series of hearings announced by the Committee to review the Endangered Species Act (ESA)… Continue Reading

Working Group Holds Congressional Forum on ESA Reform, Despite Absence of Environmental Groups

Posted in Congress

On October 10, 2013, the Endangered Species Act Congressional Working Group (Working Group) held a forum entitled “Reviewing 40 Years of the Endangered Species Act and Seeking Improvement for People and Species.” The forum featured 17 panelists, who discussed ways in which the Endangered Species Act (ESA) can be strengthened and improved to better serve… Continue Reading

ESA Working Group Forum Scheduled for Tomorrow, But Not Without Controversy

Posted in Congress

The Endangered Species Act Congressional Working Group is scheduled to hold a forum tomorrow morning entitled "Reviewing 40 Years of the Endangered Species Act and Seeking Improvement for People and Species."  A press release issued by the Working Group states that the forum "will feature a diverse group of invited stakeholders who will testify on all angles of the… Continue Reading

Endangered Species Act Working Group to Hold Field Hearings in Wyoming and Montana

Posted in Congress, Regulatory Reform

On August 22, 2013, U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo) and the Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, Doc Hastings (R-Wash), announced that the Congressional Endangered Species Act (ESA) Working Group will be holding field hearings in Casper, Wyoming and Billings, Montana to find ways to improve the ESA for both species and people. The… Continue Reading

Congress Continues to Probe the Endangered Species Act

Posted in Congress

Yesterday, the House Committee on Natural Resources held a second hearing regarding implementation and impacts of the Endangered Species Act.  Today’s hearing was titled: Transparency and Sound Science Gone Extinct?: The impacts of the Obama Administration’s Closed-Door Settlement on Endangered Species and People.  In a summary description issued before the hearing, the Committee stated that it anticipated the hearing would "highlight how the lack… Continue Reading

House Republicans Scrutinize Endangered Species Act Lawsuits

Posted in Congress, Conservation, Legislation, Regulatory Reform

Today, the House Natural Resources Committee is holding a full committee oversight hearing on species conservation efforts undertaken at “on-the-ground-levels” in an effort to compare those efforts with the effectiveness of Endangered Species Act (ESA) lawsuits. The hearing, entitled Defining Species Conservation Success: Tribal, State and Local Stewardship vs. Federal Courtroom Battles and Sue-and-Settle Practices,… Continue Reading

House Republicans Form Endangered Species Act Working Group

Posted in Congress, Regulatory Reform

House Republicans recently announced the creation of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) Working Group, which will be led by House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-WA) and Western Caucus Co-Chair Cynthia Lummis (R-WY).  The ESA Working Group will include a total of 13 republican members from a broad geographic range.  It will examine the… Continue Reading

House Republicans Introduce ESA Settlement Reform Bill

Posted in Congress

On March 21, 2013, Representatives Bill Flores (R-TX), John Carter (R-TX), K. Michael Conaway (R-TX), Mac Thornberry (R-TX), and Steve Pearce (R-NM) introduced a bill (pdf) to curtail allegedly excessive Endangered Species Act (ESA) lawsuits brought by environmental groups. The bill would prohibit courts from approving ESA settlements, unless states and counties that would be… Continue Reading

ESA Legislation Proposed to Prohibit Certain Settlements and Awards

Posted in Congress

Yesterday, a Republican Senator from Texas, John Cornyn, introduced a bill (pdf) that would prohibit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from settling environmental lawsuits without first publishing the complaint "in a readily accessible manner, including electronically," and allowing "affected parties" an opportunity to intervene.  The bill further provides that the filing of any motion to dismiss or for… Continue Reading

REI CEO May Be Next Secretary of the Interior

Posted in Congress

As recently reported by a number of news agencies, President Obama will nominate Sally Jewell, the Chief Executive Officer of REI, to be the next Secretary of the Interior.  If the nomination is approved by the Senate, she will be replacing a vacancy created by Ken Salazar, who announced in January that he will be… Continue Reading

California Lawmakers Propose Bill To Address Federal Policy Regarding Tree-Removal On Levees

Posted in Congress

On January 23, 2013, over 25 California delegates to the House of Representatives introduced a bill, H.R. 399 (pdf), addressing the federal rules requiring trees growing on levees to be removed. Specifically, the bill would require the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to review its policy about vegetation-removal on levees, in order to consider allowing… Continue Reading

Congressman Markey Issues Sharp Criticisms of Draft Interpretation of “Endangered” and “Threatened” Species

Posted in Congress, Delisting, Fish & Wildlife Service, Listing

As previously blogged about here, on December 9, 2011, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service (Services) published a notice of proposed rulemaking (PDF) in the Federal Register that will, if adopted, change the Services’ standards for listing and delisting species as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by… Continue Reading

Parts of National Oceanic and Atomospheric Administration to be Transferred to Department of the Interior

Posted in Congress

President Obama announced a government consolidation plan that would involve transferring parts of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ("NOAA"), which is currently part of the Department of Commerce, to the Department of the Interior.  NOAA oversees marine wildlife, including endangered marine species.  The Fish and Wildlife Service, which is an agency within Interior, oversees… Continue Reading

House Republicans to Hold Hearing Investigating Impact of Habitat Protections for Southern California Fish Species on Water Supplies and Economy

Posted in Congress, Critical Habitat

In response to a letter from two local congressmen (PDF), Republicans from the Natural Resources Water and Power Subcommittee have scheduled an oversight hearing to examine the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s recent designation of critical habitat for the Santa Ana sucker (Catostomus santaanae).  As reported on this blog, the Service published a final rule… Continue Reading

House Holds Oversight Hearing on Science and the ESA

Posted in Congress

On October 13, 2011, the Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight to the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology of the U.S. House of Representatives held a hearing on the nexus of science and policy related to the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  According to a press release issued by the House, the purpose of the hearing was… Continue Reading