Flores, House members file bill to curb ESA settlement abuses

US Rep. Bill Flores (R-Tex.) introduced a bill that aims to curb costs and regulations resulting from federal Endangered Species Act closed-door litigation settlements between the US Fish and Wildlife Service and environmental organizations.

Four other House Republicans—John Carter, K. Michael Conaway, and Mac Thornberry of Texas; and Steve Pearce of New Mexico—are cosponsors.

“It is time that we stop these closed-door settlements that are abusing the [ESA] and costing American taxpayers millions of dollars, both of which are hurting the American economy,” Flores, a House Natural Resources Committee member, said on Mar. 26. “We must ensure that all parties affected by the conservation process are able to be involved.”

He said his bill, HR 1314, would give local government and stakeholders a say in ESA settlements which affect them. The measure also would limit use of federal money to fund ESA suits, and preserve the FWS’s statutory regulatory authority, Flores indicated.

The measure has been referred to both the Natural Resources and Judiciary committees. It is a companion bill to S. 19, which Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.), introduced on Feb. 27 (OGJ Online, Mar. 1, 2013).

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