House Natural Resources Hearing on Bringing Much Needed Reforms to the Endangered Species Act

On Wednesday, July 19, the House Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on five Republican sponsored bills aimed at modernizing the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Since ESA modernization was a 2017 NPMA Legislative Day issue, members of the NPMA Public Policy Team attended this most important hearing. This issue is critical because activists are using the ESA as a mechanism to ban or restrict pesticides, and only one percent of endangered species have been delisted or recovered; therefore the need to reform this broken law is urgent. While all five pieces of legislation that were discussed at the hearing are relevant and important, HR 717 and HR 1274 are the most impactful regarding the structural pest management industry.

HR 717 is sponsored by Rep. Pete Olson (R-Texas) would remove the current 90-day and 12-month deadlines for species listing decisions. These deadlines are an often overly abused way for activists to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services (FWS) in order to force a determination of a species. The activists make it increasingly difficult for the FWS to protect threatened and endangered species because their deluge of lawsuits causes the FWS to transfer resources from conservation to litigation.

Species listings and critical habitat designations have the potential to impact entire communities, industries, and can place burdens on state governments. HR 1274 sponsored by Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.) would amend the Endangered Species Act to require the availability of data used as a basis for listing and critical habitat determinations to the impacted states. This legislation would bring added transparency and give industry, state, and local governments a seat at the table. NPMA applauds this form of cooperative federalism that brings governmental decision-making closer to the people.

The NPMA Public Policy Team will continue our heavy engagement and keep members apprised of developments.