Bill opens Endangered Species Act data to review
Today, Rep. Cynthia Lummis joined colleagues from across the country in re-introducing H.R. ##: the 21st Century Endangered Species Transparency Act. The bill would require data used for Endangered Species Act (ESA) listing decisions to be made publicly available and accessible through the internet. Under current law, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service routinely bases endangered species listing decisions on hidden data and unpublished studies. Rep. Lummis previously co-chaired a congressional working group that recommended data transparency as a common-sense update to make the ESA more credible and successful in the 21st Century.
U.S. Representatives Cynthia Lummis (WY-At large), Randy Neugebauer (TX-19), Bill Huizenga (MI-02), and Doug Collins (GA-09) issued the following statements:
“The Endangered Species Act was a good idea in 1973 and it’s a good idea today, but the forty year old law is in need of improvement,” said Rep. Lummis. “Endangered species listings have dramatic effects on local conservation efforts, private and public land use, and the livelihoods of impacted families. Everyone agrees we should protect species from extinction, but we need to ensure that listing decisions are grounded in data that is public and verifiable. I am pleased to join my colleagues from regions across the country in introducing this bill. Our partnership is a reflection of the fact that the ESA is no longer just a major issue for the west, but for the entire nation.”
“ESA listing decisions have major consequences for hardworking farmers, ranchers, and small business owners in the 19th District of Texas and across America,” said Rep. Neugebauer. “The ESA must be updated and modernized to make it more accountable and transparent. To address this, the 21st Century Endangered Species Transparency Act would empower the American people and enable them to have access to the data used to justify new listing decisions.”
“Michigan is blessed with an abundance of natural resources, ranging from the Great Lakes to native species such as the gray wolf,” said Rep. Huizenga. “Striking a balance between conservation and ensuring local communities can develop and prosper is critical. While the intent of the Endangered Species Act is in the right place, the act itself has not been updated in 25 years. Congress must continue to update the law and conduct oversight of its implementation to ensure a proper balance is maintained.”
“Communities across Northeast Georgia and the country value the environmental protections of the Endangered Species Act,” said Rep. Collins. “To increase public confidence that federal agencies are using the best available data to make far-reaching decisions, our bill would make that data open and transparent on the Internet, improving public participation and also species recovery.”