As we reported here, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service (together, the “Services”) recently proposed revisions to the regulations that implement portions of the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”). The submission deadline for comments was September 24, 2018. If enacted, the Services assert that the proposed revisions would, among other things, streamline ESA consultations with other federal agencies and clarify the jeopardy standard.
The proposed revisions sparked a flurry of last minute comment submissions from environmental groups, who reportedly filed an additional 500,000 comments before the submission deadline. Many of these comments were standardized in form and content, and included the same phrase in opposition to the proposed revisions.
However, the volume of comments does not necessarily impact the outcome of the regulatory amendment process. Whether the Services make further changes to the proposed ESA revisions in response to the more than 800,000 comments submitted remains to be seen, so please check back with us for further updates.