House Passes ESA Reform Package

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On July 29, 2014, the U.S. House of Representatives passed Endangered Species Act (ESA) reform legislation introduced by members of the House Natural Resources Committee. As previously reported, the legislation consists of four bills seeking to amend the ESA by, among other things, requiring federal agencies to release to the public all data used to make its listing decisions, disclosing the amount of federal funds used in ESA-related lawsuits, and requiring that the “best scientific and commercial data available” include information provided by state, tribal, and county governments. The bill now heads to the Senate for approval. Commentators have noted, however, that passage by the Senate may be fruitless since the White House has issued a veto threat on the bill, claiming that it is presents “yet another administrative reporting requirement.” It has been over 40 years since the ESA was enacted and over 25 years since the most recent Congressional amendments to the statute.


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