Newhouse Proposes Major Change
by Kyle Lamb
Earlier this week 4th District Representative Dan Newhouse introduced the Weight Habitats Offsetting Locational Effects, or WHOLE Act.
The bill is part of a larger legislative package of 18 bills looking to alter and modernize the Endangered Species Act
The Sunnyside Republican said the bill would require the review of any endangered species-related decision take into account ALL the conservation efforts that are occurring throughout the habitat, instead of just the location of the proposed project or area in question.
"Say for instance salmon, where we do have critical habitat." explained Newhouse, "Say there was going to be a bridge over the Columbia river. Through this legislation, conservation and habit efforts that have been made and undertaken in different parts of the river could be considered versus just what currently would be looked at, and that is the specific location of where that bridge would be constructed."
The WHOLE Act is one piece of a larger Endangered Species Act reform package spearheaded by the Congressional Western Caucus.
"I think overall what it will do is incentivise private investment in species recovery which is something that I think will be a great way to modernize our efforts," added Newhouse.
Organizations that have endorsed the package include the National Home Builders Association, Western Energy Alliance, Family Farm Alliance, American Agri-women, National Mining Association and the Independent Petroleum Association.
The WHOLE Act in its entirety can be found here.
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