Western Governors’ Association Resolution on Revising the Endangered Species Act

Western Governors’ Association Policy Resolution 2016-08: Species Conservation and the Endangered Species Act.

Key areas, according to the WGA, that need to be addressed in the ESA in addition to reauthorization include:

  1. Defining a clear methodology and practice for de-listing recovered species;
  2. Delaying judicial review of a rule delisting a species until the conclusion of the federally identified post-delisting monitoring period to allow state management of recovered species an opportunity to succeed so long as there is a federally reviewed and endorsed conservation plan in place;
  3. Improving regulatory flexibility for federal agencies to prioritize petitions received to list or change the listing status of a species under the ESA;
  4. Establishing a comprehensive system of incentives to encourage state and local governments to develop water, land-use and development plans that meet the objectives of the ESA as well as local needs, both before and after a species is petitioned for listing under the ESA;
  5. Providing adequate tools and incentives that encourage private landowners to engage in species and habitat conservation activities both before and after a species is petitioned for listing under the ESA;
  6. Addressing ways to dis-incentivize litigation that strains federal resources and impedes the Services’ ability to direct resources to truly imperiled species;
  7. Increasing grants authorized under ESA Section 6 – and other federal funding for the recovery of listed species – for: 1) state and local implementation of the Act; and 2) federal efforts to prevent additional listings in active partnership with the states;
  8. Improving the functionality of ESA Section 6 to increase partnerships and cooperation between states and the federal government in addressing ESA issues;
  9. Alleviating the pressure on states to expend scarce funds to address, mitigate and recover endangered and threatened species, at the expense of non-listed species within the state’s jurisdiction;
  10. Providing greater distinction between the management of threatened versus endangered species in ESA to allow for greater management flexibility, including increased state authority for species listed as threatened; and
  11. Providing more extensive state engagement in development and implementation of Section 4(d) special rules or other mechanisms under the ESA that promote species conservation while addressing situations that merit flexibility or creative approaches.

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