by Corbin Hiar
The bill would require federal power marketing administrations to include the direct
and indirect costs of complying with the ESA on customers' monthly electricity bills.
Republican lawmakers this week revived legislation that would significantly limit the Fish and Wildlife Service's ability to protect imperiled animals and plants.
Shepherding the "Endangered Species Management Self-Determination Act," S. 935, are Republican Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Dean Heller of Nevada.
Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.) introduced a companion bill in the House, H.R. 2134, the text of which was not yet publicly available.
The Senate package is an expanded version of the Endangered Species Act reform bills that Paul, Heller and Luetkemeyer backed last Congress.
S. 935 would amend the ESA to require Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who oversees FWS, to obtain the consent of governors before making management decisions that would affect species within their states.
It would also require congressional approval of the endangered and threatened species lists and automatically remove plants or animals after five years.
Furthermore, the bill would require federal power marketing administrations to include the direct and indirect costs of complying with the ESA on customers' monthly electricity bills.
An indirect cost, the measure says, would include the "forgone power generation costs and replacement power costs, including the net costs of any transmission power."
S. 935 would also make it easier for landowners to seek compensation from the federal government and prevent groups that successfully sue FWS under the ESA from recouping their attorneys' fees.
A new provision this year would weaken protections for ravens and calf-killing black vultures, neither of which is a listed species.
"We can better protect endangered species by empowering state leaders to implement a strategy more tailored to their specific circumstances," Paul said in a statement. "Instead of continuing Washington's 'one-size-fits-all' approach to regulation, this bill puts local needs first and guards against bureaucratic overreach."
While many Republicans have shown an interest in updating the ESA, the drastic reforms put forward by Paul, Heller and Luetkemeyer may struggle to win widespread support. Neither the House nor the Senate versions of their bills made it out of committee during the 114th Congress.
Rep. Rob Bishop, Others Target Endangered Species Act by Amy Joi O'Donoghue, Deseret News, 2/4/14
S.935 Endangered Species Management Self-Determination Act by Sen. Paul, Rand [R-KY], at Congress.Gov, 04/25/2017
H.R.2134 Endangered Species Management Self-Determination Act by Rep. Luetkemeyer, Blaine [R-MO-3], at Congress.Gov, 04/25/2017
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