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Idaho Senators Risch and Crapo join effort to protect Trump-era modifications to the Endangered Species Act

Under the Biden administration, efforts are in place to repeal three regulations that were implemented as part of the 2019 ESA modifications.
Credit: Official photos
Sen. Mike Crapo (left) and Sen. Jim Risch

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senate Western Caucus Republican members Mike Crapo and Jim Risch have joined other state senators on proposed legislation known as the 'Western Way' preventing the Biden administration from overturning revisions made to the Endangered Species Act in 2019.

The proposed legislation seeks to retain the regulations within the Endangered Species Act (ESA) imposed under the Trump administration. Under the Biden administration, efforts are in place to repeal three regulations that were implemented as part of the 2019 ESA modifications. 

The three rules that the Biden Administration is seeking to repeal are:

  1. The 'Blanket Rule': The Blanket Rule is specific to the Fish and Wildlife Service. It treats all threatened species as endangered species with endangered level protections. The 2019 revision required that 'threatened species' and 'endangered species' be managed differently, with specifically tailored to the species of concern.
  2. Critical Habitat: The 2019 revision calls for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services (FWS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to clarify definitions and how the services determine endangered and threatened species classifications. The rule requires agencies to disclose the processes and standards for species listings and critical habitat designations.
  3. Section 7: Clarify consultation procedures with federal agencies, actions deemed “reasonably certain to occur” must be backed by “clear and substantial information.” The 2019 revision also implemented the requirement of a non-exhaustive list of factors relating to the decision and ultimate action regarding the affected species.

Read more about the 2019 ESA revision via the Congressional Research Service and the Federal Register.

If the Senate Western Caucus successfully prevents the U.S. Departments of the Interior and Commerce from finalizing the Biden administration's proposals to the three rules, the Trump-era regulations within the Endangered Species Act will be upheld.

The two Idaho senators joined Senate Western Caucus Chair Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyoming) and Congressional Western Caucus Chair Dan Newhouse (R-Washington) in introducing the legislation.

"Wildlife species should be protected and recovered, when possible, but the ESA as written has had very limited success," Crapo said. "The Biden Administration's rollback of 2019 reforms will only create more red tape and burdensome regulations that will hinder recovery and conservation efforts. Idaho's farmers, ranchers and conservationists need more support - not additional regulatory cudgels - to make on-the-ground decisions most successful at proper wildlife management practices."

"With Senator Lummis, I am introducing legislation to protect wildlife and critical projects in the West from these heavy-handed changes and, instead, keep a tailored, commonsense approach to species recovery," Risch said.

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