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

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 to ensure that the statute’s focus is on recovering species and science, rather than litigation. Referencing the landmark 2011 settlement between Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), which requires the Service to review 757 species by 2018, Chairman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) stated that the ‘listing-by-litigation’ approach is not working for people and species. He continued: Undoubtedly, some believe cramming hundreds of obscure species onto the ESA list under deadlines and blocking off huge swaths of land because of the settlements are ‘successes,’ but many areas of the country tell a different account of how these policies are impacting their communities, their economies, and ultimately, the species. In response, CBD’s endangered species policy director Brett Hartl said the settlement simply requires the [Service] to do its job in a timely manner and make decisions about protecting species.

For additional information regarding prior ESA oversight hearings, please see our December 10, 2013 and June 4, 2013 posts.


Nossaman’s Endangered Species Law & Policy blog focuses on news, events, and policies affecting endangered species issues in California and throughout the United States. Topics include listing and critical habitat decisions, conservation and recovery planning, inter-agency consultation, and related developments in law, policy, and science. We also inform readers about regulatory and legislative developments, as well as key court decisions.

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