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McClintock's ESA reform bill clears committee

Bill would let Americans see data behind endangered species decisions, lawmaker says.

The Endangered Species Transparency and Reasonableness Act, H.R. 3608, by Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., passed the House Natural Resources Committee Thursday, Sept. 27.

“The legislation will allow the American people to see the data that is being used to make Endangered Species Act (ESA) listing decisions,” said Congressman McClintock.  “This measure opens up the information so that the public can look at it, the science can be debated and challenged, and the best possible decision rendered under the terms of the Endangered Species Act.”

The legislation requires the federal government to disclose all data used prior to any ESA listing decision, and it requires that the “best available scientific and commercial data” include data provided by affected states, tribes, and local governments.

“Local governments, tribes and states often have a great deal of information on the local conditions and have simply been ignored during previous considerations of listing decisions,” said Congressman McClintock.

Additionally, the bill requires the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to track, report to Congress and make available online information on funds expended to respond to ESA lawsuits, the number of employees dedicated to litigation and the attorney’s fees awarded in the course of ESA litigation and settlement agreements.  The legislation also prioritizes resources towards species protection by placing reasonable caps on attorney’s fees by requiring the same caps as suits filed under the Equal Access to Justice Act.

Source: Office of U.S. Rep. Tom McClintock

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