Newhouse leads launch of working group to reform Endangered Species Act

U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA) on July 18 joined Republican members of the Congressional Western Caucus and the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee to launch an Endangered Species Act Working Group.

“I am proud to launch this working group with House Natural Resources Chairman Bruce Westerman to work towards providing tangible, actionable solutions to the ESA [Endangered Species Act] for the betterment of the American people and species recovery,” Rep. Newhouse said on Tuesday.

The working group will examine how the ESA is being implemented by federal agencies, what the practical impacts are on the American public, how litigation is affecting ESA decision-making, and how success is defined under the ESA, according to a summary provided by Rep. Newhouse’s staff.

The goal of the working group will be to publish a series of policy recommendations that reform the ESA, the summary says.

“Only in the federal government would five percent be deemed a passing grade, but that is exactly how ‘successful’ the Endangered Species Act has been at recovering species,” said Rep. Newhouse, chair of the Congressional Western Caucus. “It is clear the ESA is in desperate need of reform, not only for the sake of our species, but for the men and women of central Washington who are negatively impacted by its land use restrictions, impact on property values, and costly permitting requirements.”

Rep. Westerman said that while the ESA is well-intentioned, it is outdated legislation that needs to be brought into the 21st century.

“With hundreds of species being listed under the Endangered Species list but with a dismal three percent having been delisted, clearly something is not working,” he said. “It’s time to take action.

“I’d like to thank Congressman Newhouse and the other members of this working group for taking these initial steps to modernize this archaic law,” added Rep. Westerman.

There are 10 GOP members in the working group in total, including U.S. Rep. Mark Amodei (R-NV).