Tag Archives: Endangered Species Act

House Natural Resources Committee Introduces Four Bills to Amend ESA

On Thursday, March 27, House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (WA-04), Rep. Cynthia Lummis (Wyoming-at large), Rep. Randy Neugebauer (TX-19), and Rep. Bill Huizenga (MI-02) introduced four limited bills to improve and update the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The bills are supported by all of the Members of the ESA Congressional Working Group, representing districts across the nation, and are based on the recommendations and findings of their report and input from a broad array of stakeholders, including the Western Governors’ Association. The four bills focus on transparency and species recovery.

  • H.R. 4315 (Hastings) , 21st Century Endangered Species Transparency Act
  • H.R. 4316 (Lummis), Endangered Species Recovery Transparency Act
  • H.R. 4317 (Neugebauer), State, Tribal, and Local Species Transparency and Recovery Act
  • H.R. 4318 (Huizenga), Endangered Species Litigation Reasonableness Act

Probably the most significant of these bills is H.R. 4316, which requires the USFS, the BLM, and the National Marine Fisheries Service to disclose at the end of each year all expenditures related to any suit brought against the agency under the Endangered Species Act, who filed the suit, the record of decision, how much it cost the agency to defend against the suit, and how much money was paid to whomever filed the suit.

As astonishing as it is, this information is not disclosed today, and the agencies do not even keep records on it! This is a very important bill to get passed.

How Your Tax Dollars Fund the Environmental Movement

The federal government has defended more than 570 Endangered Species Act (ESA)-related lawsuits in the last four years alone, costing U.S. taxpayers more than $15 million in attorney fees. This chart shows the top litigants. You will probably recognize some of these names. (Click image for larger view.)

The Equal Access to Justice Act requires the federal government to reimburse legal fees for the prevailing party in lawsuits against the federal government. Environmental organizations are making millions of dollars by filing endless ESA-related lawsuits. When they lose, it costs very little because their attorneys work on spec. When they win, they can claim up to $500 an hour in attorney fees.

For more information, visit the House Natural Resources Committee site. Chairman Doc Hastings and the House Natural Resources Committee are fighting to end this abuse, and save the millions of dollars we pay to these environmental organizations every year to prevent the productive and responsible use of our natural resources.