Natural Resources Hearing on ESA Reform
Last week, I told you about legislation I’ve introduced to reform the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to make it work better for landowners, communities, and species. The law is in need of reform—in the 40 years since it was enacted, only 2% of species have ever recovered to the point where they can be removed from the list. The ESA also imposes costly federal requirements on landowners, when there are more practical, voluntary conservation solutions that would work just as well to preserve species. It’s also problematic that instead of making listing decisions in a transparent manner, based on the best available science, listings are being driven by closed-door settlements with activist environmental groups.
So I’ve introduced two bills to improve the ESA and prevent unnecessary listing. This week, the Natural Resources Committee will be holding a hearing on one of those bills: H.R. 4317, the State, Tribal, and Local Species Transparency and Recovery Act. This bill requires the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to provide states with the data they are using to justify their listing decisions. Additionally, it requires FWS to consider scientific data submitted by state and local governments before making a determination. Texas State Senator Kel Seliger has been invited to testify at the hearing on why involving states early in the process is critical to successful conservation. He’ll also explain why data from state and local fish and wildlife experts is critical to understanding local species and their habitat. I’m looking forward to Senator Seliger’s testimony. If you’d like to watch it live tomorrow at 9:00 am CT / 10:00 am ET, you can visit this link.