Congressman

Cynthia Lummis

Representing Wyoming

Natural Resources Committee Holds Hearing on Endangered Species Act

Hearing highlighted effective state level conservation efforts in contrast to litigation.

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Washington, Jun 4, 2013 | Christine D'Amico ((202) 225-2311) | comments
Today the House Natural Resources Committee held a hearing entitled, “Defining Species Conservation Success: Tribal, State and Local Stewardship vs. Federal Courtroom Battles and Sue-and-Settle Practices.” Among the issues raised was the proven effectiveness and efficiency of state, tribal, and local conservation efforts, and the uncertainty created because the Endangered Species Act (ESA) has not been reauthorized in more than two decades. Further, the Committee heard that too many incentives exist for litigation on species recovery, forcing the Fish and Wildlife Service to spend limited resources in federal courtrooms instead of on conservation. The panelists were unanimous in their agreement that the Endangered Species Act is imperfect, and needs to be examined to strengthen species conservation.
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Today the House Natural Resources Committee held a hearing entitled, “Defining Species Conservation Success: Tribal, State and Local Stewardship vs. Federal Courtroom Battles and Sue-and-Settle Practices.” Among the issues raised was the proven effectiveness and efficiency of state, tribal, and local conservation efforts, and the uncertainty created because the Endangered Species Act (ESA) has not been reauthorized in more than two decades.  Further, the Committee heard that too many incentives exist for litigation on species recovery, forcing the Fish and Wildlife Service to spend limited resources in federal courtrooms instead of on conservation.  The panelists were unanimous in their agreement that the Endangered Species Act is imperfect, and needs to be examined to strengthen species conservation. 

Among today’s witnesses was Wyoming resident Steve Ferrell, Policy Advisor on Wildlife and Endangered Species for Governor Matt Mead.  In an opening statement to the committee Ferrell defended the strength of state led conservation efforts.

“States are unquestionably qualified to be effective partners in the implementation of the ESA,” Ferrell said. “States have extensive experience and expertise in science based wildlife management principles and the application of public policy in managing wildlife as a public asset.  States are significantly affected by the ESA including their ability to develop and maintain their economies and natural resources. States should be afforded every opportunity to provide input to laws, regulations and policies in implementing the ESA.”

After the hearing Committee Member U.S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo) issued the following statement:

“There’s no question that states are focused on the issue at hand: conserving species.  Species conservation efforts in Wyoming and the West are proven, efficient, and nimble.  I’m glad to see there was a unanimous agreement that changes have to be made to the ESA, but I am very disappointed in the tone set by those who think litigation is a solution.  We can and should do better for species and people, but we have no chance unless there is a willingness to discuss the issue in a fair and open way.  It is time to set aside the bitter acrimony of the past, and usher in a new era of species conservation based on consensus. I want to thank Steve Ferrell for joining us today to help us to set a new tone, and for sharing his unique perspective with the committee.”

Watch clips from today’s hearing at: http://youtu.be/Dn93xkYBnMk

Watch Rep. Lummis’ and Steve Ferrell’s opening statements at: http://youtu.be/0CUhrba7M4k

Watch Rep. Lummis’ questioning at: http://youtu.be/pmnXznR_oW4

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