The Senate Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing on Feb. 27th to examine the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Committee expressed concern that the act was being used to further other policy goals, was subject to excessive litigation, was not being successful in recovering species, that settlement negotiations were secret, and that data being used to make decisions was not being released. Written testimony from Michael Bean of the Fish and Wildlife Service and Sam Rauch of the National Marine Fisheries service can be found online.
ESA decisions oftentimes affect forests and their management when critical habitat is identified within them. The act has been an important aspect of conservation efforts in forests since its enactment in 1973.
The Senate Committee is not the only one in recent weeks to take a look at ESA reform. The House Committee on Natural Resources Endangered Species Act Working Group released a report in early February on what they perceive as the act’s greatest problems and their recommended solutions. For a more detailed report and analysis, click here.