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Endangered Species Law and Policy

Category Archives: Regulatory Reform

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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service Revise Endangered Species Act Petition Process

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

On September 27, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service (Agencies) published a final rule (pdf) that revises the regulations governing the Endangered Species Act’s (ESA) petition process.  According to the Agencies, the revisions are intended to improve the content and specificity of petitions and enhance the efficiency and effectiveness… 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

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Increases Civil Penalties

Posted in Fish & Wildlife Service, Regulatory Reform

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published an interim rule (pdf) revising its civil procedure regulations for the assessment of civil penalties for violations of various laws and regulations within the Service’s jurisdiction.  The Service issued the revised procedures pursuant to the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 2015, which requires agencies to update… Continue Reading

Changing the ESA Listing Petition Process? Not as Much as You Might Think.

Posted in Delisting, Fish & Wildlife Service, Listing, National Marine Fisheries Service, Regulatory Reform

On April 21, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service (collectively, “Service”) announced revisions to their proposed modifications  to  the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”) petition process. 81 Fed. Reg. 23,448 (Apr. 21, 2016) (pdf).  In May 2015, the Service announced proposed changes to the petition process for listing a species… Continue Reading

Article Sets Out Guidance for Implementing Endangered Species Act’s Best Available Science Mandate

Posted in Continuing Education, Fish & Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, Regulatory Reform

Environmental Management has released an advanced copy of an article I co-authored with Dr. Dennis Murphy entitled, Guidance on the Use of Best Available Science under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.  The principle purposes of the article are to identify the types of data, analyses, and modeling efforts that can serve as best available science… Continue Reading

Congressional Hearings to be Held on New Critical Habitat Rules and Delisting under the Endangered Species Act

Posted in Congress, Critical Habitat, Delisting, Fish & Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, Regulatory Reform

This week, two congressional committees are holding three separate hearings on issues related to the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  On April 19, the House Committee on Natural Resources will hold an oversight hearing entitled Recent Changes to Endangered Species Critical Habitat Designation and Implementation.  On April 20 and 21, the House Oversight and Government Reform… Continue Reading

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes Revisions to Mitigation Policy

Posted in Fish & Wildlife Service, Regulatory Reform

On March 8, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced (pdf) proposed revisions to its Mitigation Policy that has guided Service recommendations on mitigating the adverse impacts of development on fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats since 1981.  The revised policy provides a framework for achieving a net gain in conservation outcomes, or… Continue Reading

President Issues Memo regarding Mitigation of Natural Resources Impacts

Posted in Conservation, Regulatory Reform

On November 3, 2015, the President issued a memorandum entitled “Mitigating Impacts on Natural Resources from Development and Encouraging Related Private Investment.” In it, he states “[t]his memorandum will encourage private investment in restoration and public-private partnerships, and help foster opportunities for businesses or non-profit organizations with relevant expertise to successfully achieve restoration and conservation… Continue Reading

California Department of Fish and Wildlife Proposes Rules Relating to Nesting Birds and Birds of Prey

Posted in Conservation, Regulatory Reform, Uncategorized

On August 14, 2015, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (Department) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking relating to nesting birds and birds of prey.  Specifically, the Department is proposing to adopt regulations implementing the prohibitions found in California Fish and Game Code sections 3503 and 3503.5.  In pertinent part, these sections make it… 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

Federal Government Proposes Revisions to Endangered Species Act Regulations

Posted in Critical Habitat, Fish & Wildlife Service, Listing, National Marine Fisheries Service, Regulatory Reform

While a number of Endangered Species Act (ESA) reform bills continue to wind their way through Congress (see our May 6, 2015 post), yesterday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announced their own plan to “increase regulatory predictability, increase stakeholder engagement, and improve science and transparency” when acting on petitions to list, uplist, downlist,… Continue Reading

Federal Wildlife Agencies Issue Final Rule Codifying Practice of Using Surrogates in Incidental Take Statements

Posted in Consultation, Regulatory Reform

On May 1, 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service (collectively, the wildlife agencies) issued a final rule amending the regulations governing consultation under section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in order to codify the practice of using surrogates to express the amount of extent of anticipated take… 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

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