Administration Proposes Improvements to ESA Petition Process

Irrigation Leader, Vol. 7 Issue 11 pp.30-31

January 31, 2016

By Joe Nelson and Jordan Smith

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) are currently reviewing comments received on proposed revisions announced last spring to the Endangered Species Act (ESA) petition process. These proposed regulations would impose additional procedural and substantive requirements on the submission and consideration of petitions seeking to list, delist, or reclassify species or modify designated critical habitat.

Listing determinations are central to the ESA because listing a species as either threatened or endangered entitles it to federal protection, including the take prohibition of section 9 and the consultation requirements of section 7. The proposed rule would make much-needed reforms to the existing petition process, including requiring more rigor and scientific documentation in the submission of petitions, increasing the role of state governments, and imposing a one-species-per-petition rule.

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