WASHINGTON D.C. – Today, Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA), the Congressional Western Caucus, and the House Committee on Natural Resources launched an Endangered Species Act Task Force. The task force will seek to examine how federal agencies are implementing the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the practical impacts on the American people, how litigation is driving ESA decision-making, and how success is defined. under the ESA. The goal of the Task Force will be to publish a series of policy recommendations that reform the ESA for the benefit of conserving American species and peoples.
“Only in the federal government would five percent be considered a passing grade, but that’s how ‘successful’ the Endangered Species Act has been in recovering species,” said Rep. Newhouse. “It is clear that the ESA is in desperate need of reform, not only for the good of our species, but also for the men and women of central Washington who are adversely affected by land use restrictions, the impact on value of properties and costly permit requirements. . I am proud to launch this task force with House Natural Resources Chairman Bruce Westerman to work to bring tangible and actionable solutions to ESA for the betterment of the American people and species recovery.”
“The Endangered Species Act is well-intentioned but completely outdated legislation that needs to be brought into the 21st century. With hundreds of species listed as endangered but a dismal 3% delisted, something is clearly not working. It’s time to take action.” said House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Bruce Westerman (R-AR). “Today, we formally launch the Endangered Species Task Force with members of the House Natural Resources Committee and the Western Caucus to take the first significant action on this legislation since the 1980s. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the ESA, and since its inception has been misrepresented and transformed by radical litigants into a political shootout rather than an important piece of conservation law. I would like to thank Congressman Newhouse and the other members of this task force for taking these initial steps to modernize this archaic law.”
Task force members include Reps. Bruce Westerman (R-AR), Mark Amodei (R-NV), Cliff Bentz (R-OR), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Harriet Hageman (R-WY), John Duarte (CA-13), Judge Carter (R-TX), Jerry Carl (R-AL) and Lauren Boebert (R-CO).
Since Congress enacted the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1973, approximately 1,700 species have been listed as threatened or endangered, not counting experimental populations. Only three percent of these species have been considered recovered and delisted. Additionally, the Biden Administration has taken steps to undo the critical work done by the Trump Administration to reform the ESA. This has left stakeholders and members of Congress frustrated and has substantially increased the appetite for specific and sustainable reforms for the ESA.