House Approves Bill to Reform
by Nick Snow
The US House of Representatives passed a bill that would reform the Endangered Species Act for the first time in 26 years.
The bill, HR 4315, would require publication on the internet of the basis for determining whether species are endangered or threatened. The 219 members voting for it included 14 Democrats, while the 190 opposing it included 8 Republicans.
Supporters argued changes were necessary because the 1973 law is not working. "While respecting the original intent of the ESA to conserve species, this bill would help make the law more effective for both species and people," Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) said.
"Because of the more than 500 ESA-related lawsuits that have been filed against the government during this administration alone, it has become clear that costly litigation is not only driving ESA priorities, but litigation has become an impediment to species recovery," Hastings said in a floor statement before the vote.
Separately, Rob Bishop, who chairs the committee's Public Lands and Environmental Subcommittee, added, "The ultimate goal is to ensure that threatened and endangered species are successfully recovered and that long-term management plans are put into place."
Bishop said, "This legislation puts us on a path to do that. Without updates, we will maintain the status quo, which has had a success rate of just 2%. In every classroom in America, that counts as a failing grade. We have to do better."
In addition to requiring federal agencies to make ESA decisions publicly available while respecting state data privacy laws and private property, HR 4315 would:
The American Petroleum Institute, Western Energy Alliance, and US Chamber of Commerce also were among 25 organizations supporting the bill, which will be referred to the US Senate, where a companion bill has been introduced. The White House has said it would veto the measure.
Doc Hastings to Retire from Congress by Abby Livingston, Roll Call, 2/13/14
learn more on topics covered in the film
see the video
read the script
learn the songs