Here is an interesting post from Bob Berwyn’s blog. Thanks, Bob, for finding this! I tried to simply “repost” it to this blog but had technical difficulties..
Below is an excerpt:
The changes would provide greater clarity to the public and states on what information would best inform the evaluation of a species’ status and result in better coordination with state wildlife agencies, which often have unique information and insights on imperiled species.
As part of the Administration’s ongoing efforts, the Services will also be unveiling additional proposals over the coming year to achieve four broad goals:
Improving science and increasing transparency. To improve public understanding of and engagement in ESA listing processes, the Services will:
Strengthen procedures to ensure that all information that can be publicly disclosed related to proposed listing and critical habitat rule notices will be posted online; and
- Adopt more rigorous procedures to ensure consistent, transparent, and objective peer-review of proposed decisions.
- Incentivizing voluntary conservation efforts. Voluntary conservation programs, such as Safe Harbor agreements and Candidate Conservation Agreements, can improve conditions for listed and at-risk species, and conservation banking can make listed species and their habitats assets for landowners.
The Services will:
- Update guidance on the use of these proactive tools to establish consistent standards; and
- Adopt a policy promoting the expanded use of conservation banking and other advance mitigation tools.
Focusing resources to achieve more successes. The Services will work to focus limited resources on activities that will be most impactful. These actions include:
- NOAA’s launch of a new initiative to focus resources on eight of the nation’s most vulnerable marine species with the goal of reducing, stabilizing, or reversing their rate of decline by 2020;
- Proposed revisions to interagency consultation procedures to streamline the process for projects, such as habitat restoration activities, that result in a net conservation benefit for the species;
- Updates to the Habitat Conservation Planning Handbook to make developing and permitting plans more efficient and timely.
- Engaging the States. State fish and wildlife agencies, by virtue of their responsibilities and expertise, are essential partners in efforts to conserve threatened and endangered species. The Services will:
Implement the aforementioned revised petition regulations to give states an opportunity to provide input prior to submission; and
- Update policy regarding the role of state agencies to reflect advancements in collaboration between the Services and the States.
For more information on the proposed ESA petition regulations, go to http://www.fws.gov/home/feature/2015/proposed-revised-petition-regulations.pdf. Public comments on the proposed rule will be accepted on or before 60 days following its publication in the Federal Register.
Note from Sharon: These all sound like good ideas, and especially the science transparency one has oft been discussed on this blog. One wonders whether this would have been done without some pressure by Congress. I don’t believe in partisan enemizing, of course, but this does remind me of a quote from the Essays of James Vila Blake (the Unitarian minister):
Enemies make us watchful of ourselves and induce self-examination; for we must argue thus: our foe hates us with reason or without reason; if without reason, then he not really hates us, but some other sort of person for whom he mistakes us; but if with reason, then it is plain we should improve, and remove the reason.