Panel spotlights ESA costs as prelude to overhauling law

A House Natural Resources subcommittee hearing Tuesday laid the groundwork for legislation to change the Endangered Species Act.

July 18, 2023

House Republicans on Tuesday commemorated the Endangered Species Act’s 50th anniversary more with side-eye than champagne.

In an afternoon hearing pointedly subtitled “The Destructive Cost of the ESA,” GOP lawmakers repeatedly assailed the landmark environmental law, at least as it is currently being put into practice. The complaints outnumbered specific legislative fixes, though those are reportedly coming.

"After 50 years of the ESA, and untold billions of expenditures, paid many times by small communities and families, and not the nation, and with questionable benefits, it is definitely time to come up with a better plan," said Rep. Cliff Bentz (R-Ore.).

Bentz, who chairs the Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Wildlife and Fisheries, said "soon we will introduce amendments to the act that will improve its protection of the species, without destroying people and communities, without costing more money than we can possibly find."


Other proposals would target individual species, like a measure that would force the delisting of the gray wolf, a move that the Fish and Wildlife Service itself has previously proposed.

"I think we should be celebrating the ESA. This is a historic and popular conservation law which has prevented countless species from going extinct," said ranking member Jared Huffman (D-Calif.).

"But so far this year, my Republican colleagues have been more interested in using this form of this committee to villainize, attack and misinform people about the ESA."


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By:  Michael Doyle
Source: E&E Daily