Proposed ESA Listing
As the result of court settlements between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Center for Biological Diversity and WildEarth Guardians, the USFWS is required to determine whether 757 different plant or animal species should be listed as endangered before 2018. On Tuesday the USFWS announced that they intend to list two plants that are found on or near the Hanford National Monument in Benton County, Washington as a protected species under the Endangered Species Act, designating roughly 344 acres as critical habitat for the Umtanum Desert buckwheat and over 28 hundred acres as critical habitat for the White Bluffs bladderpod; designations which include a mix of federal, state, and privately-owned land. Congressman and Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee Doc Hastings expresses his concern about this proposal.
HASTINGS: The ramifications of this listing is that it could halt potential access to Rattlesnake Mountain, but if this is extended to other areas other than the Hanford Reach it could have potential detrimental effect on our agriculture, because once it’s listed then it’s open to litigation, and frankly that’s one of the reasons why I think the Endangered Species Act needs to be updated because it seems to get involved mainly in litigation rather than trying to recover whatever species we’re trying to recover.
The listing could ultimately affect areas beyond the Hanford Reach, resulting in restricted irrigated farming, limited recreational hiking and vehicle use, and the blocking of public access to the Hanford monument and adjoining state and private lands.
I’m Lacy Gray and that’s Washington Ag Today on the Northwest Ag Information Network.