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Endangered Species Law and Policy

Category Archives: Regulatory Reform

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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

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes Credit Program for At-Risk Species

Posted in Conservation, Fish & Wildlife Service, Regulatory Reform

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) recently announced a proposed policy establishing credits for voluntary prelisting conservation actions for imperiled species. The policy is intended to establish an additional measure for encouraging and awarding voluntary actions to protect species that may be listed as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The… Continue Reading

House Natural Resources Committee Sends Four ESA Reform Bills to the House Floor

Posted in Regulatory Reform

After a heated markup hearing on Wednesday, the House Natural Resources Committee voted to send four bills that would amend the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. All four bills were sponsored by Republican representatives, and the Committee voted almost exclusively upon partisan lines, with Republicans voting for… Continue Reading

House Natural Resources Committee to Hold Full Committee Markup on ESA Reform Bills

Posted in Regulatory Reform

The House Natural Resources Committee has scheduled a full Committee markup of four bills intended to bring additional transparency to the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The markup, which involves committee debates, amendments, and rewrites of the proposed legislation, is scheduled for this Wednesday, April 30, 2014. The Committee will be reviewing four ESA reform bills… 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

Endangered Species Act Turns 40

Posted in Regulatory Reform

December 28, 2013 marked the 40th birthday of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), which was signed into law by President Richard Nixon on December 28, 1973. According to Sally Jewell, the Secretary of the Interior: “This landmark law has helped to stop the slide toward extinction of hundreds of species. Along the way, we have… Continue Reading

House Natural Resources Committee Holds Fifth Oversight Hearing on Endangered Species Act

Posted in Regulatory Reform

Last week, the House Natural Resources Committee held its fifth oversight hearing on the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Entitled “ESA Decisions by Closed-Door Settlement: Short-Changing Science, Transparency, Private Property, and State & Local Economies,” the hearing included over a dozen Republican witnesses, with only three Democrats. At the hearing, critics of the ESA urged reform… 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

Bureau of Land Management Continues to Develop a National Greater Sage-Grouse Planning Strategy

Posted in Conservation, Regulatory Reform

 The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) today issued (pdf) a draft Oregon Greater Sage-Grouse Land Use Plan Amendment and Environmental Impact Statement (LUP Amendment/EIS) for the Oregon Sub-Region.  Once finalized, the LUP Amendment/EIS will cover over 10 million acres of sage-grouse habitat in the species’ Oregon range. The draft LUP Amendment/EIS is one of fifteen… Continue Reading

U.S. Bureau of Land Management Issues Draft Proposal to Protect Nevada and Northeast California Greater Sage-Grouse

Posted in Conservation, Regulatory Reform

On November 1, 2013, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), as lead agency, and the U.S. Forest Service (Service), as cooperating agency, issued the Nevada and Northeast California Greater Sage-Grouse Draft Land Use Plan Amendment and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).  The EIS evaluates six alternatives for land use plan management amendments (LUPA) focusing on… Continue Reading

Federal Wildlife Agencies Issue Proposed Rule that Would Codify Practice of Using Surrogates in Incidental Take Statements

Posted in Regulatory Reform

On September 4, 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service (collectively, the Services) issued a proposal rule to amend the regulations governing consultation under section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) that would codify the practice of using surrogates to express the amount of extent of anticipated take in… Continue Reading

Federal Wildlife Agencies Issue Final Rule Adopting “Incremental” Approach to Economic Impact Analyses Conducted for Critical Habitat Designations under the Endangered Species Act

Posted in Regulatory Reform

On August 28, 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) issued a final rule (pdf) adopting an “incremental” approach to preparing an economic impact analysis required for a critical habitat designation under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). As a practical matter, this assessment will primarily consist of… 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

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

National Research Council Recommends a Unified Approach to Assessing Risks to Endangered Species from Pesticides

Posted in Regulatory Reform

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for registering pesticides under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). As part of this process, the EPA must ensure that the use of the pesticide will not cause any unreasonable adverse effects on the environment, including species protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and designated… Continue Reading

National Marine Fisheries Service Proposes a Merger of its West Coast Regions

Posted in Regulatory Reform

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) recently proposed merging its Southwest and Northwest administrative regions, which would result in a savings of $3 million annually in management costs. NMFS is a component of the Department of Commerce, and is responsible for administering the Endangered Species Act as it applies to marine species and their habitats.  Currently,… Continue Reading

Three More Pesticides Found Likely to Jeopardize West Coast Salmon and Steelhead

Posted in Consultation, Regulatory Reform, Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta

In a recently issued draft biological opinion (PDF) , the National Marine Fisheries Service (Service) has concluded that EPA’s registration of products containing the herbicides oryzalin, pendimethalin, and tricluralin is likely to jeopardize the survival of approximately half of the Pacific salmonid populations listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The draft biological opinion is the latest milestone in a series of… Continue Reading

Services Issue Notice of Controversial New Interpretation of Threatened and Endangered Species

Posted in Delisting, Fish & Wildlife Service, Listing, Regulatory Reform

Today, 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).  See Draft Policy on Interpretation of the Phrase… Continue Reading

Congress To Re-Examine Endangered Species Act

Posted in Regulatory Reform

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… Continue Reading

California Legislature Authorizes Take of Fully Protected Species

Posted in Regulatory Reform

The California Legislature has sent to the Governor legislation authorizing the Department of Fish and Game to permit the incidental take of 36 fully protected species pursuant to a natural community conservation plan approved by the Department. (Senate Bill 618 (Wolk).) The legislation, in effect, gives fully protected species the same level of protection as… Continue Reading

House Natural Resources Committee to Examine Endangered Species Act Reauthorization This Fall

Posted in Regulatory Reform

On July 27, 2011, House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings announced that the Committee will "move forward" in the fall to examine the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in an effort to reauthorize the law.  Chairman Hastings issued his statement shortly after the House passed an amendment offered by Rep. Norm Dicks to the FY 2012 Interior Appropriations… Continue Reading