Federal Agencies, Congress Tackle Endangered Species Reforms

Last week, the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) proposed streamlining updates to multiple sections of the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  In addition, the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is considering an AGC-supported discussion draft of a new bill to amend the Act.  The 45-year old ESA has not been amended since 1988, despite criticism for its poor track record of recovering species.  The Act has proven successful, though, as a tool to impede major federal infrastructure projects.  AGC is optimistic the measured reforms in the proposals and in the discussion draft of the bill could lead to greater certainty in the permitting process, without compromising the success of threatened or endangered species.

The three regulatory proposals take some of the steps that AGC has recommended to streamline the Act.  For example, the proposals address the need to assess protections for threatened species individually, prioritize occupied habitat, and make efficiencies in the consultation process such as possible deadlines.  AGC will submit written responses in advance of the comment deadlines on September 24, 2018 (see Federal Register, July 25, 2018, for all three notices).

For more information, contact Melinda Tomaino at

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