Law & Order

U.S. House of Representatives Committee Passes Bills to Modify the Endangered Species Act

By SEMA Washington, D.C., Staff

The U.S. House Natural Resources Committee passed five bills to reform the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The 40-year-old law has produced few tangible results beyond road and trail closures, restrictive land-use designations and lawsuits. While millions of acres of land have been set aside to protect threatened and endangered animals and plants, more money has been spent on lawyers and court expenses than wildlife management.

The House-passed bills include legislation that would:

  • Require the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to consider the economic impact of adding a species as endangered or threatened when the agency makes listing decisions.
  • Require the FWS to make all data that is used as the basis for an ESA determination made available to impacted states.
  • Provide that non-native species in the United States cannot be treated as endangered or threatened under the ESA.
  • Require the Interior Department to reissue final rules to delist the gray wolf as a protected species in the western Great Lakes and Wyoming.
  • Limit billing rates awarded to lawyers and expert witnesses in ESA lawsuits to $125 per hour.

For more information, contact Eric Snyder at