On May 12, 2014, Federal wildlife agencies proposed two new rules concerning critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act and a draft policy regarding exclusions from critical habitat designations. The proposals, issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), have been published in Federal Register, and comments will be accepted through July 11.
The proposed rules would create a new definition of “destruction or adverse modification” of critical habitat, as well as clarify the process and criteria for designating critical habitat. The new policy would clarify the agencies’ approach to exclusions from critical habitat. Taken together, the new rules and policy, if finalized as proposed, will impact a broad cross-section of government and business activity.
Comprehensive information on the new rules and policy is available on the USFWS webpage.