Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works Holds Hearing on Endangered Species Act Modernization

On Wednesday, February 15 2015 the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works, chaired by U.S. Sen. John Barrasso (WY) held a hearing entitled “Oversight: Modernization of the Endangered Species Act. Offering both written and verbal testimony at the hearing were:

  • David Freudenthal, former Governor of Wyomin
  • Gordon Myers, Executive Director, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commissio
  • James Holte, President, Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation
  • Jamie Rappaport Clark, President and CEO, Defenders of Wildlife
  • Daniel Ashe, President and CEO, Association of Zoos and Aquariums

The hearing was held to gather testimony from key stakeholders for a policy that, as Sen. Barrasso noted in his introductory comments, “has not been updated in any meaningful way in over thirty years.”

The first to offer testimony was Freudenthal who pointed to a divergence in the policy’s initial intent and the manner in which it being used now. “The Endangered Species Act has been used and abused over the course of several administrations,” he noted. Freudenthal went on to articulate many of the same points he offered in his written testimony and established that the policy, though well-intentioned has evolved into a “nearly unworkable system.” Freudenthal highlighted the petitioning process and said, “The gate for getting a petition in is too low. We don’t require enough information in the listing process.” Freudenthal went on to stress petitioners were looking for federal action and that the burden of proof should reside with them. In his written testimony Freudenthal asserted that a higher threshold of reliable data and species specific knowledge needed to be gathered as a listing “impacts the personal and property rights of so many other people.”

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(Via Forest Landowners Association)

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