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House committee advances ESA amendments

Cara J

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The U.S. House of Representatives’ Natural Resources Committee met Sept. 26 to discuss nine bills aimed at amending the Endangered Species Act. Each of the bills aims to make a variety of changes to the ESA, including making it easier to delist a species, reducing judicial review of listing and delisting decisions, improving coordination with states and encouraging voluntary conservation measures. The bills, put forth by the Congressional Western Caucus, were originally introduced in July. Witnesses at the hearing included representatives from the California Farm Bureau Federation and the Pacific Legal Foundation — both supporters of the bills — and a witness from Defenders of Wildlife, who expressed opposition to the proposed changes. Proponents argued the bills would increase flexibility and efficiency. “I believe that if the ESA is to work better for species, it must work better for people,” said Jamie Johansson, president of the California Farm Bureau Federation. “For this to happen,” he said, “we must increase the opportunities for collaboration and decrease the opportunities for conflict.” Bob Dreher, senior vice president of conservation programs at Defenders of Wildlife, said the bills “would undermine key provisions of the ESA and result in increased harm to protected species and [...]

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