Western Caucus Members Introduce Legislation to Modernize the ESA

  • Northern Long-Eared Bat

Today, Western Caucus members, led by Vice Chair Pete Stauber (MN-08) and Chairman Dan Newhouse (WA-04), re-introduced the ESA Flexibility Act. This legislation will grant landowners leeway and the Department of the Interior and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) flexibility when dealing with endangered species listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
“This year marks the 50th anniversary of the ESA, and its disappointing track record highlights the urgent need for reform,” said Chairman Newhouse. “I’m proud to join Western Caucus Vice Chair Stauber in re-introducing this legislation to provide the Fish and Wildlife Service with additional flexibilities in implementing regulations to recover species while avoiding actions detrimental to landowners. Western Caucus members will continue to prioritize reforming the ESA to make sure the law works better for both species and rural America.”
“I’m pleased to introduce the ESA Flexibility Act today, which creates latitude for species listed as threatened or endangered,” said Vice Chair Stauber. “If we’re to build infrastructure, permit electricity transmission, mine for resources needed for everyday life, and properly manage our forests, we need commonsense habitat conservation plans that protect wildlife without harming our economy. The ESA Flexibility Act will allow for better management of species listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act, such as the Northern Long-Eared Bat. The flexibility given to the Secretary of the Interior under this bill will allow for fit-for-purpose protections for species like the Northern Long-Eared Bat, while still allowing for responsible logging and land management across Northern Minnesota. Although my commonsense bill is a small step forward, I hope we build on this reform to make the ESA work for people and animals once again."
Joining Vice Chair Stauber and Chairman Newhouse in introducing the legislation are Western Caucus members Rep. Cliff Bentz (OR-02), Rep. Harriet Hageman (WY-AL), and Rep. Lauren Boebert (CO-03).


There are currently two classifications under the Endangered Species Act (ESA): endangered and threatened. Section 4(d) of the ESA provides flexibility for threatened species, allowing the Department of the Interior and the Fish and Wildlife Service to develop fit-for-purpose regulations to help maintain and improve threatened species' status, while simultaneously reducing undue regulatory burdens that are affecting energy development, farming, and logging activities.

The ESA Flexibility Act will help further alleviate the undue regulatory burdens posed by the ESA by expanding section 4(d) and allowing the Secretary of the Interior to also utilize 4(d) rules for species listed as endangered. The ESA Flexibility Act will allow for better, fit-for-purpose management of endangered species across the country while still supporting responsible land use and management.


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