More ESA Transparency Needed

More ESA Transparency Needed

More ESA Transparency Needed

I'm Lacy Gray with Washington Ag Today.

On Tuesday the Natural Resources Committee held a legislative hearing on four recently introduced bills that would improve and update the Endangered Species Act. H.R. 4315 - 16 - 17 and 18 are based on recommendations and input from a broad array of stakeholders. Congressman Doc Hastings, Chairman of the Natural Resources Committee, talks about the bills.

HASTINGS: The essence of these four bills is more transparency and local input and litigation control. We have found that litigation was a big driver of the listing of species, and recovery had taken a back seat. This is a modest attempt to put more transparency into the Endangered Species Act.

Hastings admits that attempts to update the Endangered Species Act have been ongoing.

HASTINGS: There's been a number of members that have championed this in the past and ours is the latest effort, but the mere fact that the act hasn't been reauthorized in 26 years cries for the fact that it needs to be reauthorized. Because of this mega listing that was an agreement nearly three years ago more of the country is being impacted, potentially negatively. Again the biggest faults we've seen is a lack of transparency. I think that needs to be addressed and that's the reason for the four bills.

The U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife has been issued a Congressional subpoena by Doc Hastings in an effort to get answers on the agency's recent decision to list the White Bluffs Bladderpod plant thought to grow only in Franklin County as an Endangered Species. The agency went ahead with the listing even after DNA testing funded by local farmers showed that the plant is genetically the same as other bladderpod plants found throughout the Northwest. Though the agency is now only designating federal land as part of the plant's critical habitat, Franklin County farmers are concerned that future regulations could still impact their land.

That's Washington Ag Today.

I'm Lacy Gray on the Ag Information Network.

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