Last week, the House of Representatives passed legislation co-sponsored by Congressman Scott Tipton (R-CO) to increase transparency under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by providing updates to ensure that the best publicly available scientific data is being utilized by the federal government when making listing decisions.
“Under the existing, outdated process, the federal government is not required to publicly disclose scientific data being used, or even consider data submitted by state, county and tribal governments when listing under the Endangered Species Act.
If federal agencies are utilizing the best possible science to ensure the protection of a species, then there should be nothing to hide. Given the abysmal recovery success rate of two percent for the 1,500 species currently listed, I have more than a hunch that better scientific data is available and should be put to use — which is exactly why we need transparency. Despite copious testimony from biologists that localized preservation efforts, which take into account the unique topography and ecology in each specific region, are the most effective ways to establish a thriving species population, federal bureaucrats continue to insist on one-size-fits all approaches that oftentimes encompass millions of acres across numerous states. It’s well past time that the Fish and Wildlife Service be held to a more transparent and accountable standard,” said Tipton. “We are seeing this lack of transparency right here in Colorado with regard to the proposed sage grouse ESA listings. Not only have federal agencies refused to disclose the scientific data on which they are relying to determine potential listings, they have failed to even provide preservation goals to the state, despite repeated calls to do so. The legislation we passed today in the House will bring greater transparency to the ESA process by requiring federal agencies to disclose scientific data, cooperate with state and local governments, and ensure that the listing process works to the best interest of a species and impacted communities, and not for self-serving bureaucratic ends or to advance the goals of special interests.”
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