House Republicans form group to examine Endangered Species Act

Thirteen US House Republicans formed a working group to consider ways the federal Endangered Species Act is working, how it could be updated, and how to make it more effective. ESA matters to oil and gas producers as petitions to list species as endangered are filed with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, sometimes with the potential to severely restrict or outright prohibit exploration, production, and development.

The working group is co-chaired by Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (Wash.) and Western Caucus Co-Chair Cynthia Lummis (Wyo.). “We’ve brought together members from all parts of the country in order to get a broad range of input and perspectives,” Hastings said on May 9.

He said, “We want to hear from states, local community leaders, farmers, ranchers, environmental groups, property owners, and businesses—everyone who cares and has an opinion—about how the law impacts their lives and how it might be improved.”

Lummis added, “The ESA has long been a topic of great interest to the West, but as Western Caucus co-chair, I believe that Westerners must do a better job of reaching out to our Eastern colleagues on this topic in a way that builds trust, not division. The ESA can work, but it is far from perfect. In fact, in some ways the law hinders the kind of conservation of species that we all desire.”

Officials from states, US Bureau of Land Management field offices, and county and local governments have been working with producers to mitigate threats to the greater sage grouse, lesser prairie chicken, and dunes sagebrush lizard.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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