Neugebauer said he introduced the Endangered Species Improvement Act because the Endangered Species Act does not work in its current form.
“(ESA) imposes costly requirements on businesses, it restricts property rights for landowners and it hasn’t been successful at recovering species,” Neugebauer said. “In 40 years, only two percent of species listed under the ESA have been successfully recovered and removed from the list. It’s clear that we need to make some changes.”
The ESA Improvement Act would transfer authority to the local level, Neugebauer said, to give stakeholders more tools to protect and restore species and prevent ESA listings.
“Local experts are our best resource when it comes to the complex relationship between a species and its habitat,” Neugebauer said. “They know the habitat like only a local can, and they know which actions are more likely to work, and which may need adjusting. My bill ensures that the Fish and Wildlife Service is working with the experts on the ground.”
Under the bill, the FWS would be required to notify states 90 days before a proposed listing. Local authorities would then have 45 days to develop a State Protective Action plan to protect the species before it’s listed as endangered, and the FWS would have 45 days to approve or deny the plan.
“If we can give states more input into the ESA process before a species is proposed for a listing, and more authority to manage species and their habitat, we should be able to prevent endangered or threatened listings,” Neugebauer said. “That will save time and money for everyone.”
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