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Proposed ESA changes brought to Senate

Cara J

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The Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works held a hearing on July 17 to discuss the draft language of the Endangered Species Act Amendments of 2018, a bill forwarded by Chairman John Barrasso, R-Wyoming. “Stakeholders are making it clear that the Endangered Species Act can be improved,” Barrasso said in his opening statement. Barrasso’s bill would increase the role of states in the management of threatened and endangered species. It would require federal officials to give extra consideration to state data during listing decisions, require the number of federal representatives on a recovery team to be equal or less than the number of state or local representatives and require the Interior secretary to solicit annual state feedback on federal employees’ performances. “In my view, states are the leaders in terms of species conservation,” said Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead, a Republican and chairman of the Western Governors Association. Barrasso’s draft bill was largely drawn from recommendations from the WGA. Although the original WGA report was a bipartisan efforts, many Democratic Western governors have not openly endorsed Barrasso’s bill because of some alterations made in the language. Ranking member Sen. Thomas Carper, D-Delaware, said that although the ESA could probably [...]

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