Western Caucus Members Highlight Issues with the Endangered Species Act on the House Floor

  • Species Week 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, Chairman Dan Newhouse (WA-04) hosted a Special Order with Congressional Western Caucus Members to talk about the Endangered Species Act and the harm it’s done on rural communities across America.

As we have seen over the past 5 decades, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) has become a weapon—used by extreme environmentalists and serial litigators to slow or halt critical economic development and land management projects in rural communities throughout the United States,” said Chairman Dan Newhouse (WA-04). “From preventing the restoration of our forests to creating overburdensome roadblocks to domestic energy development, the ESA does more harm than good. In rural America, we value the responsible management of species, but we have to do so in a way that doesn’t destroy our economies, decimate our lands, or leave our communities vulnerable to natural disasters. We need flexible tools—not one-size-fits-all regulations from the federal government—to be successful in our shared goal of recovery our nation’s endangered and threatened species.” Click here to watch his full remarks.

“For those of us in production agriculture, energy, minerals, just about anything that uses the basic building blocks of an economy and the things our society, a modern society, needs, the Endangered Species Act has been weaponized against that,” said Executive Vice Chair Doug LaMalfa (CA-01). “The Endangered Species Act, what it's turned into, is really harming the ability for people to get what they need but also the focus hasn't really been on recovering species as I think was well intended.” Click here to watch his full remarks.

“50 years ago, the Endangered Species Act was created to protect endangered species by taking actions to put them on the road to recovery, unfortunately, the Endangered Species Act has become a statutory hotel California where radical environmental groups and judges check animals into the endangered species list, but they may never leave. In fact, over the last 50 years, out of the 1,389 listed species only 72 have been recovered and removed from the list,” said Vice Chair Tom Tiffany (WI-07). “Over the last 50 years, the Endangered Species Act has failed to be a celebration of recovery and instead a political weapon, it's past time we changed that and turned the Endangered Species Act into something all Americans can celebrate, endangered species success stories.” Click here to watch his full remarks.

“Conservation is for critters, preservation is for pickles and the Endangered Species Act as it was written in 1973 was about conservation and taking care of these at-risk species,” said Vice Chair Bruce Westerman (AR-04). “The Endangered Species Act was actually passed as a call to action in conservation, but it has devolved into a weapon for stagnation and leverage for political activism. The irony is that a misused ESA actually does more harm than good to the animals and plants that it was put in place to protect.” Click here to watch his full remarks.

“Federal bureaucrats, unelected federal bureaucrats in Washington, D.C., or judges in California should not be able to take away our management powers just because of their ideological views or because they want to give favors to the radical activist groups,” said Vice Chair Pete Stauber (MN-08). “That's why I helped introduce the Trust the Science Act with my friend and colleague Representative Boebert to delist the wolf and exempt its delisting from judicial review. It's well past time to once-and-for-all delist the grey wolf and reinstitute a hunt in Minnesota as part of our local management, let's get the federal government out of the way.” Click here to watch his full remarks.

“Unfortunately, I believe the ESA has failed to achieve the underlying mission and many of my constituents have been forced to experience the consequences firsthand.” said Rep. Jim Baird (IN-04). “After 50 years, it's time to modernize the law to fix the broken parts, to make it better, serve its intended purpose, and to allow for responsible solutions to disasters.” Click here to watch his full remarks.

“The Endangered Species Act was a well-intentioned effort to protect the species we're at risk of losing, unfortunately the ESA has been hijacked by extreme environmentalists who have weaponized the law—especially in California,” said Rep. David Valadao (CA-22). “Central Valley families and farmers have seen the negative impacts of heavy handed and misguided regulations that put fish ahead of our families and farms.” Click here to watch his full remarks.

“The fact is that the Endangered Species Act would and could work if it were implemented as intended—to recover actually threatened or endangered species. It has instead become a business in and of itself with an entire economy built around endless studies, monitoring, field work, and lawsuits,” said Rep. Harriet Hageman (WY-AL). “The Endangered Species Act has had profound impacts on my state of Wyoming by limiting economic development and restricting the implementation of reasonable and effective land, water, and resource management and use.” Click here to watch her full remarks.

“Burdensome and outdated regulations like the Endangered Species Act negatively impact our nation's farmers, ranchers, foresters, create frivolous lawsuits, halt critical infrastructure projects, stifle economic growth, and do not help the species in question,” said Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson (PA-15). “America's working lands play a vital role in protecting threatened and endangered species, Mr. Speaker. Voluntary, locally led conservation program should be a model for the federal government rather than a top-down sledgehammer of red tape—or what I prefer to call “green tape.” It's high past time to modernize the Endangered Species Act to better protect species and to treat property owners, farmers, ranchers, and states as partners rather than obstacles.” Click here to watch his full remarks.

“I rise to discuss the misuse of the Endangered Species Act as it pertains to the Lesser Prairie-Chicken and its negative impact on farmers, ranchers, agriculture, and oil producers throughout the big First District of Kansas. Under the Endangered Species Act, the normal activity of agriculture and energy production can be construed as harm and harassment of the listed species and thus prohibited,” said Rep. Tracey Mann (KS-01). “This is another example of big government overreach jeopardizing the livelihoods of American producers. The truth is, the Lesser Prairie-Chicken's population thrives or dwindles based on rainfall, not the activity agriculture and energy producers.” Click here to watch his full remarks.

Click here to watch the entire Special Order.

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