Chairman Newhouse, Chairman Westerman Statements on the 50th Anniversary of the Endangered Species Act

Today, Western Caucus Chairman Dan Newhouse (WA-04) and House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Bruce Westerman (AR-04) issued the following statements on the 50th anniversary of the enactment of the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

“As we mark the 50th anniversary of the ESA, one word comes to mind and it’s ‘failure,’” said Chairman Newhouse. “Earlier this year Chairman Westerman and I launched an ESA Working Group to examine the law and address these failures. A recovery rate of less than three percent is a call to action on reforming the ESA. In fact, a recent report from the Western Caucus Foundation found that nearly 60 percent of those so-called ‘recoveries’ were in fact the result of data errors. This damning report calls into question every species the Fish and Wildlife Service has listed under the ESA. It is clear that drastic changes are necessary to the ESA to ensure it becomes more effective at recovering vulnerable species without being weaponized by radical environmental activists to usurp the rights of private property owners across the country.”

“We’re now 50 years into the Endangered Species Act and the verdict is in: it’s an outdated piece of legislation in desperate need of reform,” said Chairman Westerman. “Throughout its entire history, only 3 percent of species listed under the act have been delisted. That kind of abysmal success rate clearly indicates the ESA is seriously flawed and in need of modernization. Through the work of the bipartisan ESA working group, we’ve already heard from local communities, farmers, business owners and Americans across the country whose livelihoods have been harmed or threatened by onerous regulations that have not succeeded in recovering species. We should never be content to implement laws and then forget all about them. On this important anniversary of the ESA, House Republicans remain committed to challenging the status quo and finding solutions that both recover at-risk species and protect the rights of the people who live and work near them.”

Earlier this year, Chairmen Newhouse and Westerman launched a joint ESA working group between Western Caucus and Natural Resources Committee members to inform efforts to modernize the law.

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