Neugebauer Introduces Bill to Reform Endangered Species Act

From the Seminole Sentinel:

Tuesday, March 25, 2014 8:09 AM
Congressman Randy Neugebauer, 19th Congressional Dist. of Texas (R--Lubbock)
Congressman Randy Neugebauer, 19th Congressional Dist. of Texas (R–Lubbock)

WASHINGTON — District 19 Congressman Randy Neugebauer (R-Lubbock) introduced legislation Monday which he claims will improve the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  H.R. 4284, the ESA Improvement Act of 2014, empowers state and local agencies to protect and restore species and prevent costly listings, according to a press release issued by the Congressman’s office on Monday afternoon.

“The ESA isn’t working in its current form.  It imposes costly requirements on businesses, it restricts property rights for landowners, and it hasn’t been successful at recovering species,” Neugebauer said.  “In forty years, only two percent of species listed under the ESA have been successfully recovered and removed from the list. It’s clear that we need to make some changes.”

Neugebauer’s bill will facilitate species management and habitat conservation at the state and local level, giving stakeholders the necessary tools to protect and restore species and prevent ESA listings.

“Local experts are our best resource when it comes to the complex relationship between a species and its habitat,” Neugebauer said.  “They know the habitat like only a local can, and they know which actions are more likely to work, and which may need adjusting.  My bill ensures that the Fish and Wildlife Service is working with the experts on the ground.”

The bill would require the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to notify states at least 90 days in advance of any proposed listing.  Under this legislation, FWS would issue criteria describing what steps would be necessary to prevent a listing.

“Advanced coordination gives states the opportunity to develop a conservation plan before a proposed listing, instead of having to do so with a listing – and the impact that brings to the state – already hanging over their head,” Neugebauer said. “Our states have a proven track record of recovering species – let’s allow them do their work.”

The states would have the option of developing a State Protective Action (SPA) that would provide a detailed plan of action to protect the candidate species in place of a listing.   FWS would have 45 days to approve or deny the SPA, allowing states to resubmit a more appropriate plan if necessary.
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