Senator Barrasso Proposes Legislation to Gut Endangered Species Act

05 July, 2018, 22:31 | Author: Kelly Sanders
  • As GOP Pushes Overhaul, Conservationists Mobilize to Save 'Endangered Species Act From Extinction'

"It's a bill which, on a broad basis, rewrites the ESA, with a whole host of consequences-as far as we can tell, nearly entirely adverse consequences-for the protection of species", Bob Dreher, senior vice president for conservation programs at Defenders of Wildlife, told The Hill.

- U.S. Sen. John Barrasso is working on legislation dealing with the Endangered Species Act.

Many states, however, lack the resources to protect imperiled wildlife and plants.

This July 2017 photo provided by the University of Nevada, Reno shows a Dixie Valley toad at a laboratory on the Reno, Nev. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agreed on Tuesday, June 26, 2018, to consider Endangered Species Act protection for the toad that only recently was discovered in northern Nevada's high desert.

Conservatives also argue the current version puts too many regulatory burdens on industries and say it's been "overwhelmingly ineffective".

Sen. Barrasso's bill would cripple the Endangered Species Act through a variety of provisions, including the following.

It requires federal efforts to reintroduce threatened or endangered species to comply with state permit requirements, giving states a veto over reintroductions. Barrasso yesterday introduced a bill that would unravel the Endangered Species Act by weakening the reliance on sound science, giving authority over wildlife decisions to often hostile state management, and stripping the ability of the public to hold agencies accountable when they fail to act.

Barrasso's proposal would also revamp the judicial review process for decisions to delist species under the ESA.


"As the nation's largest non-governmental bloc of land managers, ranchers take great pride in their integral role in species conservation and recovery". It would delay court challenges for delisting decisions for five years, leaving wrongly-delisted species exposed to hunting, extractive industries, and other significant threats to their existence.

"The proposed bill reflects this fact and offers meaningful, bipartisan solutions to challenging species conservation issues", the WGA chairmen added.

Barrasso, who worked closely with the Western Governors' Association in drafting the language, has sought feedback on updating the ESA over the past year and a half through hearings and briefings.

"The Endangered Species Act is our nation's most effective law for protecting wildlife in danger of extinction", Marjorie Mulhall, Earthjustice's legislative director for lands, wildlife, and oceans, said Monday in a statement.

"The Western Governors' Association appreciates the Chairman's willingness to productively engage with Governors, and that the Chairman has approached this polarizing topic in an inclusive, thoughtful manner", wrote South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard (R) and Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D).

It requires unanimous agreement among recovery team members to change the goals of a recovery plan.

Experts on the law contend Barrasso's proposed legislation will not strengthen the ESA.

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