If ESA Were a Person, He’d Have a Mullet

by Aaron Johnson, Vice President of Public Affairs on August 7, 2018 - 2:52pm

Last time the Endangered Species Act (ESA) was updated was 1988, back when George Michael’s Faith topped Billboard’s chart and Die Hard led the box office. Fast forward three decades and momentum is building in Washington to modernize the Act. In the last month a host of proposals have been announced on the Hill and by the Interior Department.

Western Energy Alliance’s President Kathleen Sgamma participated in the Western Caucus’s rollout of nine ESA bills focused on promoting voluntary conservation efforts, strengthening the roles of states and local governments and adjusting the petition process. In the Senate, Sen. John Barrasso drafted the Endangered Species Act Amendments of 2018 and held a hearing in the Environment and Public Works Committee. His bill would adopt some of the Western Governors’ Association’s (WGA) recommendations that many western stakeholders, including the Alliance, helped develop through the WGA ESA Initiative.

Within the Administration, the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has proposed rule revisions to address listing procedures and critical habitat designations, Section 7 interagency consultations, and the blanket Section 4(d) rule that treats threatened species as if they were endangered. Western Energy Alliance strongly supports these common-sense rule changes that will help address some of the abuses of the ESA.

Modernizing ESA will compete with numerous other legislative priorities before the end of this Congress. But steps are being taken to bring the Act out of The Wonder Years and into the age of Netflix.