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Endangered Species Law and Policy

Category Archives: Legislation

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White House Chief of Staff Orders Freezing of Pending Regulations

Posted in Congress, Fish & Wildlife Service, Legislation, National Marine Fisheries Service, Regulatory Reform

On January 20, 2017, Reince Priebus, the White House Chief of Staff and Assistant to the President, issued a memorandum to the heads of all executive departments and agencies ordering them to freeze the processing of all regulations.  The stated intent of this action is to ensure that “the President’s appointees or designees have the… Continue Reading

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Finalizes First-Ever ESA Compensatory Mitigation Policy

Posted in Conservation, Fish & Wildlife Service, Legislation, National Marine Fisheries Service

On December 27, 2016, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) issued its final Endangered Species Act (ESA) Compensatory Mitigation Policy (Policy) – the first policy to comprehensively address compensatory mitigation under the ESA.  The Policy applies to all forms of compensatory mitigation involving ESA compliance required or recommended by FWS, including conservation banks, in-lieu… Continue Reading

Bipartisan ESA Bill Proposes Funding for State Programs

Posted in Congress, Conservation, Legislation, Regulatory Reform

In a year that has already seen its fair share of attempts to reform the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”), another proposal has made its way into the House of Representatives.  Representatives Don Young (R-Alaska) and Debbie Dingell (D-Michigan) introduced the “Recovering America’s Wildlife Act” (H.R. 5650) on July 7, 2016.  The bill is based on… Continue Reading

Wolf-Rider Introduced in House Funding Bill

Posted in Congress, Fish & Wildlife Service, Legislation

As recently reported by the Center for Biological Diversity, a rider has been proposed for an appropriations bill that would provide $1.5 billion to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2017.  The controversial rider would remove current Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolf populations in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Wyoming.  The appropriations bill, which is currently… Continue Reading

Senate Hears Testimony on Senator Feinstein’s Emergency Drought Relief Bill

Posted in Congress, Legislation, Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta

On May, 17, 2016, the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources’ Subcommittee on Water and Energy held hearings on a number of pending bills, including S. 2533, sponsored by Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA).  The bill, titled “California Long-Term Provisions for Water Supply and Short-Term Provisions for Emergency Drought Relief Act,” is aimed at… Continue Reading

Senate Sportsmen’s Bill Would Delist Gray Wolves in Wyoming and Great Lakes Region

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

On January 20, 2015, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works approved S. 659, the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2015, which complements the bill reported by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee late last year.  However, the Environment and Public Works Committee’s approval adds a number of controversial amendments to the Act’s overarching… Continue Reading

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

Governor Brown Nominates Two for Fish and Game Commission

Posted in Legislation, Regulatory Reform

Governor Brown has announced the nomination of Eric Sklar and Anthony Williams to serve on the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission).  The five-member Commission is established under article IV, section 20 of the California Constitution.  Under section 200 of the Fish and Game Code, the Commission has the power to regulate the taking or possession… 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

California Officials Claim Urban Water Restrictions Are Aimed At Balancing Water Needs

Posted in Legislation, Regulatory Reform

In a landmark executive order (pdf) issued on April 1, 2015, Governor Jerry Brown mandated a 25 percent water cutback for urban residents to address the state’s historic drought. Gov. Brown directed the State Water Resources Control Board to “impose restrictions to achieve a statewide 25% reduction in potable urban water usage … as compared… 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

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 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

FTA and FHWA Issue New MAP-21 Guidance That Could Penalize Wildlife Agencies

Posted in Legislation

The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), Pub. L. 112-141, governs Federal funding and authorization for certain surface transportation projects.  Included in MAP-21 is a provision requiring all Federal agencies with approval authority over a specific category of transportation projects to render a decision on an expedited basis.  23 U.S.C. 139 (h)(6).  Specifically, MAP-21 states that when… 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 to Consider Exempting “Three Amigos” Antelopes from Endangered Species Act

Posted in Legislation

The U.S. Senate is set to consider exempting three antelope species from protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The scimitar-horned oryx (Oryx dammah), the dama gazelle (Gazella dama), and the addax antelope (Addax nasomaculatus) – affectionately known as the “Three Amigos” – were exempted from 2005 until 2012, when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife… Continue Reading

Senate Introduces Bill to Amend Endangered Species Act

Posted in Legislation

A bill (pdf) to amend the Endangered Species Act (ESA)—entitled the Endangered Species Management Self-Determination Act (Bill)—has been introduced in the United States Senate. The Bill, authored by Senators Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.) and by Representative Mark Amodei (R-Nev.), seeks to make two fundamental changes to the ESA: to alter… Continue Reading

House Passes Healthy Forests Bill that Would Amend ESA with Respect to Forest Reserve Projects

Posted in Legislation

On September 20, 2013, H.R. 1526, the Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act (pdf), was passed by the House of Representatives by a vote of 244-173. Shortly thereafter, the bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Notably, H.R. 1526 includes provisions that, for certain projects authorized under the bill,… Continue Reading