US Rep. Pete Olson (R-Tex.) reintroduced legislation to reform listings under the Endangered Species Act by eliminating arbitrary deadlines that he said limit the US Department of the Interior’s ability to prioritize listing petitions properly.
“The [ESA] was enacted to protect truly endangered species, not to be used as a political weapon for extreme environmentalists,” Olson said on Jan. 30. “Protecting endangered species can and should be done in a practical way.
“The government should have the flexibility to act quickly and practically on listing and delisting petitions,” he maintained. “A triage system much like a hospital emergency room will ensure that the most endangered species get to the front of the line. I look forward to working with President Trump to provide protections for truly endangered species.”
Olson, whose bill, HR 717, was referred to the Natural Resources Committee after he reintroduced it on Jan. 27, said that under ESA, any organization can petition for a species to be added to or removed from the federal threatened or endangered species listings.
The current process does not allow federal agencies to prioritize these listings by targeting the most endangered species first, he explained. Federal, state, and local entities responsible for implementing ESA provisions have limited resources and should have flexibility in the listing process, Olson said.
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