WSGA supports Barrasso’s Endangered Species Act amendments
CHEYENNE, Wyo. – On July 2, Wyoming’s Sen. John Barrasso, as chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, released draft legislation with proposed revisions that would amend the Endangered Species Act of 1973.
The proposed legislation would modernize the ESA and enhance the role of state and local governments in implementing the provisions of the act. Involving the local government ensures that the local stewards of our natural resources will have their interests represented when decisions are made that will affect their activities
The ESA amendments of 2018 include: Creation of dedicated recovery teams consisting of state and federal agencies for each listed species tasked with charting the pathway to delisting. Other proposed revisions would increase transparency in the litigation process, and strengthen requirements for state consultation regarding 10(j) experimental populations.
WSGA Executive Vice President Jim Magagna commented on behalf of the association, “WSGA strongly believes that the proposed legislation meets the need for common sense procedural changes while maintaining and enhancing the substantive provisions of the act.”
He continued, “While WSGA remains a vigilant advocate for the protection of information and data specific to private landowners and business enterprises, at the same time we recognize the need for increased transparency regarding scientific and commercial data that serves as the basis for decision making. Full sharing of information with the affected states prior to making a listing decision will go far in enhancing the credibility of federal agency decisions.”
The studies provided for in Title V of the draft bill address several topics on which WSGA has been a strong voice for many years. These include adoption of a multi-species approach and recognition of the role of predation and invasive species in listing decisions. Finally, all taxpayers are entitled to transparency regarding the tremendous cost in federal resources expended in connection with ESA litigation.
The WSGA has already been engaged over the past three years in the efforts of the Western Governors Association initiated by Gov. Matt Mead to identify weaknesses in the current implementation of the act and seek common ground on needed regulatory and statutory changes. WSGA will be a strong advocate for the passage of this bill.