In Case You Missed It: Rep. Johnson's Amendment to Farm Bill Modernizing ESA Habitat Requirements Passes House

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Washington, May 22, 2018 | comments
Today, Congressional Western Caucus Member Mike Johnson (LA-04) released statements after his Amendment #94 to H.R. 2 - which would incentivize private conservation efforts to rehabilitate endangered species - passed the Floor of the U.S. House of Representatives by unanimous voice vote last Friday
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For Immediate Release

Date: May 22, 2018

Contact: Tanner Hanson

Tanner.Hanson@mail.house.gov



WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressional Western Caucus Member Mike Johnson (LA-04) released the following statement after his Amendment #94 to H.R. 2 - which would incentivize private conservation efforts to rehabilitate endangered species - passed the Floor of the U.S. House of Representatives by unanimous voice vote last Friday: 
 
“The ESA has been exploited for decades placing unnecessary burdens on our nation’s hard-working farmers and ranchers. And while protecting wildlife and their habitats is of the utmost importance, the agriculture community is already proactively and heavily involved in conservation programs that implement critical protections for both. My amendment helps modernize the ESA so we can continue to protect endangered species and let our farmers and ranchers get back to what they do best - providing a safe, sustainable food source for the American people.”



Background:

On Friday, May 18, 2018, Congressman Johnson's Amendment #94 to H.R. 2, colloquially known as the Farm Bill, was agreed to by voice vote on the Floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.

The amendment clarifies that private conservation efforts that contribute to species recovery should be recognized as such when evaluating and measuring endangered species habitat range and recovery status. Its provisions would result in increased private efforts to help recover endangered species, and could be used to ensure that projects and development which may otherwise be prevented could still go forward if alternative habitat with the requisite characteristics for a given species' conservation is provided.

In recent years, local landowners showed unprecedented support for Lesser Prairie Chicken conservation, and committed approximately 4 million acres and more than $26 million towards these efforts. Unfortunately, current practices do not allow conservation measures that take place outside of designated critical habitat to be weighed in relation to federal actions with an Endangered Species Act nexus - including for project permitting and public works. This unnecessarily disincentivizes non-federal conservation efforts. 

To address this, the amendment would allow for the totality of habitat conservation measures underway to be considered, thereby encouraging voluntary conservation and investment that would help recover threatened and endangered species.

Property owners, states, and local communities should be encouraged to be a part of the solution, not pushed aside in favor of federal micromanagement.

This amendment accomplishes just that.

See the text of Rep. Johnson's amendment here

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Amendment Original Sponsors:

Mike Johnson, Paul Gosar

Endorsed by: 
American Farm Bureau Federation, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Public Lands Council, National Cotton Council, National Water Resources Association, Golden Vertex Corp., Agribusiness & Water Council of Arizona, SRT Outdoors, AZ BASS Nation, The Bass Federation-AZ, Colorado Pork Producers Council, Alaska Miners Association, Arizona Cattlemen’s Association, Apache County Supervisor Doyel Shamley, Yavapai Cattle Growers Association, Bullhead Area, Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Committee, Arizona State Senator Sylvia Allen, Arizona Mining Association, Arizona Rock Products Association. American Exploration & Mining Association, Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative, Inc., Arizona Farm Bureau Federation, Arizona Pork Council, Grand Canyon State Electric Cooperative Association


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