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Farm Bureau: Legislation Would Make Much-Needed Changes to the ESA

News / FBNews July 17, 2018

Nine separate bills introduced by Western Caucus lawmakers will help restore common sense to an Endangered Species Act regulatory regime that has gone unchecked and grown out of control, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.

 “The ESA, despite the good intentions it was built on, has failed in recovering endangered wildlife. Instead, it has threatened our ability to make productive use of the land. Perhaps the only ‘species’ that have benefited from the ESA have been lawyers and special interest groups,” AFBF President Zippy Duvall said in a statement.

Arizona Farm Bureau Federation President and fifth-generation rancher Stefanie Smallhouse recently explained why the outdated ESA is such a problem on her ranch.

“The 20 species that we have listed for our property, there’s no data to substantiate that, it was just a general listing and that’s what happens a lot with the ESA. And, the critical habitat that has been identified doesn’t actually exist on our ranch. So, we have four fish that are listed, and the critical habitat are waterways and they don’t have any water,” Smallhouse said.

Farmers and ranchers take very seriously their role as caretakers of the land and wildlife, Duvall emphasized.

“We are blessed to live and work out in nature and we want to preserve it,” he said. “Unfortunately, the ESA discourages voluntary practices and targets farmers and ranchers rather than working in partnership with them. There is a better way.”

Farm Bureau is urging all members of Congress to support the bills and to return the ESA to what it was intended to be.

The nine ESA-reform bills are:

  • The Less Imprecision in Species Treatment (LIST) Act (H.R. 6356)
  • The Permit Reassurances Enabling Direct Improvements for Conservation, Tenants, and Species (PREDICTS) Act (H.R. 6360)
  • The Ensuring Meaningful Petition Outreach While Enhancing Rights of States (EMPOWERS) Act (H.R. 6345)
  • The Stop Takings on Reserves Antithetical to Germane Encapsulation (STORAGE) Act (H.R. 6354)
  • The Weigh Habitats Offsetting Locational Effects (WHOLE) Act (H.R. 6346)
  • The Land Ownership Collaboration Accelerates Life (LOCAL) Act (H.R. 6344)
  • The Localizing Authority of Management Plans (LAMP) Act (H.R. 6364)
  • The Permitting ESA Timing Improvements That Increase Opportunities for Non-listing (PETITION) Act (H.R. 6355)
  • The Endangered Species Transparency and Reasonableness Act (H.R. 3608)

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