“At a time when we are losing species at an alarming rate, this new bill would allow federal land managers to put their collective heads in the sand and ignore important new information about the risk their activities pose for endangered species.The Endangered Species Act is not ‘red tape,’ it is a lifeline for America’s most imperiled species. The argument that Endangered Species Act reviews are only needed for individual projects, but not at a plan-level, overlooks the critical importance of assessing the cumulative effects of multiple activities, which can only happen effectively at a plan level," said Bob Dreher, senior vice president, conservation programs, Defenders of Wildlife.

Washington, DC

Under the Endangered Species Act, federal agencies are required to evaluate the impact of their actions on threatened and endangered species and consult with federal wildlife agencies on how to avoid harm to species listed under the act. When new information about potential harms becomes available, agencies are required  by law to re-evaluate the impacts of their land management plans on endangered- and threatened-listed species. This process is called “reinitiation of consultation.” New information includes the discovery of a listed species in a new area or new scientific information showing harmful effects from a project on a listed species that are different than previously understood.  

The new legislation, introduced today by Sen. Daines (R-Mont.),  would allow the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management to skip this important process of reinitiating consultation on the effect of their land management plans, even when new information indicating potential harms to listed species.

“At a time when we are losing species at an alarming rate, this new bill would allow federal land managers to put their collective heads in the sand and ignore important new information about the risk their activities pose for endangered species.” said Bob Dreher, senior vice president, conservation programs, Defenders of Wildlife. “The argument that Endangered Species Act reviews are only needed for individual projects, but not at a plan-level, overlooks the critical importance of assessing the cumulative effects of multiple activities, which can only happen effectively at a plan level.”

Plan level reviews of potential harms to Endangered Species Act-listed species can identify threats and conservation solutions that are not present at the site level, particularly for wide-ranging species. In addition, research indicates that plan-level consultations result in more efficient ESA reviews at the site level.

“The Endangered Species Act is not ‘red tape,’ it is a lifeline for America’s most imperiled species,” said Dreher.

For more information on the science, see the following reports: Comparative analysis of Endangered Species Act consultations by two federal agencies and Data contradict common perceptions about a controversial provision of the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

 

Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With over 1.8 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit defenders.org/newsroom and follow us on Twitter @Defenders.

Media Contact

Gwen Dobbs
Gwen Dobbs
Director of Media Relations
gdobbs@defenders.org
(202) 772-0269

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