NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Obama Seeks to Change the Endangered Species Act

May 20, 2015

Add another item to the list of shake-ups expected from President Obama's green agenda: The administration is pushing for changes to a decades-old environmental act in a bid to ward off attack from congressional Republicans looking to remake the law. The Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service announced in early May, a slate of proposed updates to the implementation of the Endangered Species Act.

Some potential changes have already been announced:

  • Anyone petitioning for a species to be protected under the law is required to solicit information from state fish and wildlife agencies before sending their petition off to the federal government.
  • The federal government is required to make any information about a proposed listing that can be publicly disclosed available to the public online.

The administration also promises that the most recently proposed updates are just a taste of what is to come this year as it works to roll out additional reforms, including measures officials say are designed to boost transparency, cut red tape, incentivize voluntary conservation efforts and improve the use of science and data under the law.

The changes are intended to give states greater say in the federal decision-making process meant to protect at-risk species while improving the effectiveness of the law. And administration officials hope the planned updates may head off some of the long-standing criticism the law infringes on states' rights voiced by Republicans, Western governors and the oil and gas industry.

Source: Clare Foran, "Endangered Species Act Gets A Makeover," National Journal, May 18, 2015. 


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