Jump to content
Ornithology Exchange

House Considers New ESA Legislation


Recommended Posts

An endangered Florida panther stands vigilant at the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge. The species was originally listed in 1967 under precursors to the Endangered Species Act, which could see marked reform after evaluations from House Republicans. (Credit: George Gentry, FWS)

An endangered Florida panther stands vigilant at the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge. The species was originally listed in 1967 under precursors to the Endangered Species Act, which could see marked reform after evaluations from House Republicans. (Credit: George Gentry, FWS)

The 13 House Republicans of the Endangered Species Act Congressional Working Group released a report in early February consisting of recommendations for updating the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The ESA celebrated its 40th anniversary this past December, and has recently come under scrutiny by lawmakers for placing too much emphasis on the listing of individual species. Four pieces of proposed legislation followed the working groups’ report, detailing reforms to the ESA to increase transparency of spending and listing decisions.

The first bill, H.R. 4315, would require the Secretary of the Interior to publicly release and provide online access to all data used in species listing decisions. H.R. 4317 also focuses on data use, requiring the federal government to include data collected by state and tribal agencies in its consideration of the best available science. The other two bills, H.R. 4316 and H.R. 4318, focus on how agencies manage ESA-related litigations and would require the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to report spending on litigations and cap attorney fees at $125 per hour.

Lawmakers discussed the proposed legislation in a House Natural Resources Committee hearing last week, with clear partisan divides on how to reform the ESA. So far, the measures have garnered support only from Republican co-sponsors, who argue the legislation would provide simple incremental changes, not a complete overhaul of the ESA, which has not seen large changes since amendments in 1988. While Democrats agree that the ESA should be updated, they remain concerned that current proposals were created without them and could irreparably damage the landmark legislation. Democrats argue that releasing all data, such as rare species locations and landowner information, could thwart conservation efforts and wording in H.R. 4317 would create a restrictive definition of the best science available, limiting data available to FWS for species listing decisions.

Sources: FWS Endangered Species (accessed April 2014), ESA Congressional Working Group (accessed April 2014), E&E News (April 9, 2014)



This article was automatically imported from The Wildlife Society's policy news feed.

View the full article
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...