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Agencies raise standards for ESA listing petitions

Cara J

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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service (the Services) finalized a rule on Sept. 27 that sets higher standards for petitions to protect species under the Endangered Species Act. First proposed in May 2015, the changes aim to increase the efficiency and efficacy of the petition process by requiring more thorough and specific petitions for species listings, delistings, and reclassifications. The rule largely achieves this by placing the burden of evidence on the petitioner and asks that they present a fair case for the species in question. “A petitioner should provide a complete, balanced presentation of facts pertaining to the petitioned species, which would include any information the petitioner is aware of that contradicts claims in the petition,” says the rule. Requiring the petitioner to provide as much information as possible, both supportive and contradictory to their claims, is intended to reduce the need of the Services to spend time and resources finding information to complete the petition themselves. The new fairness standard also applies to petitions to alter critical habitat designations for listed species. The Services also sought to increase state agency engagement in the petitioning process through the revisions. Petitioners are now required [...]


Read more: http://wildlife.org/agencies-raise-standards-for-esa-listing-petitions/

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