Friday, July 27, 2018

Changes to the ESA

Over the past couple of weeks, we've seen some proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act from Congress and the Executive Branch. Conservation organizations are fighting many of the proposed changes, while oil and gas, ranching, and private land rights groups see these proposals as progress. One of the big changes will allow economic impacts to be considered when deciding whether to list a species as endangered -- current regulations say that economic impacts can be considered when deciding management, but not when considering the initial listing.  The current process allows science to be the basis of listing decisions, and should not be changed.

There is a middle ground -- it's in the proposals from the folks who are focusing on species recovery.  These groups think we should better fund recovery efforts and try new and creative partnerships that prevent the regulatory enforcement (the "hammer") of the Endangered Species Act.  We saw this in some of the 4(d) rulings passed under the Obama administration, such as the exemption for the greater sage grouse.  If you'd like to learn more about this issue, so that you can contact your elected officials during the current comment period, start by listening to this NPR On Point program regarding the new proposals.  The accompanying reading list is a great place to learn more about the ESA.

No comments:

Post a Comment