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Endangered Species Law and Policy

Category Archives: Congress

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Feinstein Introduces the California Emergency Drought Relief Act

Posted in Congress, Legislation

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced a bill last week to help address ongoing and future drought in California. The bill, known as the California Emergency Drought Relief Act (Act), is expected to be folded into broader legislation addressing the historic drought in the Western United States. The bill’s goals are to move existing water supplies… Continue Reading

ESA Roundup – Legislation, Listings, and Litigation

Posted in Congress, Fish & Wildlife Service, Legislation, Listing, Litigation

Whether dealing with water or with endangered species directly, there have been a number of recent developments that are worth keeping on your radar.  Below is a quick summary of some of the more significant items: July 16, 2015 – The House of Representative, in a largely partisan vote, passed H.R. 2898, the Western Water and American Food Security… Continue Reading

Chairmen of U.S. Congressional Environmental Committees Criticize EPA’s Failure to Consult Regarding the Potential Impacts of Proposed Clean Power Plan

Posted in Congress, Consultation

On June 15, 2015, Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, and Congressman Rob Bishop (R-Utah), Chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources, sent a letter to Gina McCarthy, Administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), criticizing the EPA’s failure to consult with the… Continue Reading

National Defense Authorization Act Would Restrict Federal Greater Sage-Grouse Protections

Posted in Congress, Fish & Wildlife Service, Legislation

On April 27, 2015, the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, released the text (pdf) of the National Defense Authorization Act (Act), including language that would ban the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) from issuing its listing decision for the greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) through September 30,… Continue Reading

Third Gray Wolf Delisting Bill Introduced in House

Posted in Congress, Conservation, Delisting, Legislation

Last week, Washington State Representative Dan Newhouse introduced the “Pacific Northwest Gray Wolf Management Act” (H.R. 1985), which would remove Endangered Species Act (ESA) protection for the gray wolf (Canis lupus) within Washington, Oregon, and Utah.  H.R. 1985 is the third bill  introduced in the 114th Congress (2015-2016) proposing to delist the gray wolf within specified states.  H.R. 843 and H.R. 884,… Continue Reading

Northern Long-Eared Bat Listed as Threatened

Posted in Congress, Conservation, Fish & Wildlife Service, Listing, Litigation

On April 2, 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued a final rule (pdf) listing the northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis) as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The Service determined that there are several factors affecting the species, but none as severe and immediate to its persistence as the disease known… Continue Reading

“21st Century Endangered Species Transparency Act” Introduced in House

Posted in Congress, Legislation, Regulatory Reform

On March 26, 2015, House of Representatives Republican Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) introduced a bill (H.R. 1667) to amend Section 4(b) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to require the Secretary of Interior to “make publicly available on the Internet the best scientific and commercial data available that are the basis for reach regulation, including each… Continue Reading

Outdated requirement results in continued listing of species determined to be recovered

Posted in Congress, Delisting, Fish & Wildlife Service

The Modoc sucker (Catostomus microps), a small fish with a range limited to northeast California and south-central Oregon, was listed as endangered (pdf) in 1985.  A recovery plan for the species was adopted by the Service in 1992, and in February 2014, the Fish and Wildlife Service proposed the delisting of the species (pdf).  In… Continue Reading

114th Congress Introduces Bill to Amend Endangered Species Act of 1973

Posted in Congress, Legislation

On January 28, 2015, Congressman Bill Flores (R-TX) introduced House Bill H.R. 585 (pdf), which seeks to amend the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA) to establish a new procedure for approval of certain stipulated consent decrees between the federal government and third parties.  Specifically, in cases brought under the ESA’s citizen suit provision (16 U.S.C. §… Continue Reading

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