Congress’ omnibus spending bill for 2016 sees many anti-ESA provisions during lengthy negotiations

Congress’ omnibus spending bill for 2016 sees many anti-ESA provisions during lengthy negotiations

Since this fall, the biggest legislative news on the Endangered Species Act (ESA) came only yesterday when Congress disclosed its omnibus spending bill for 2016. During the lengthy bill-related negotiations, more than dozen anti-ESA provisions were present on the table.

The provisions included the ones that would have barred the listing of imperiled species such as 6 species of endangered mussels and the Sonoran desert tortoise, and removed protections for presently- listed species such as northern long-eared bats, gray wolves and lesser prairie chickens.

During the negotiations, an elephant ivory rider, under which past and future US Fish and Wildlife Service's efforts to crack down on the US illegal ivory trade would have blocked has also been removed from the bill.

Though, the spending bill includes no new anti-ESA riders, unfortunately there still remain some of the bad riders in past appropriations bills. For example, once again Congress has blocked ESA protections for 2 species of imperiled sage-grouse. The bill has also boosted fossil fuel production as it has lifted the longstanding oil export ban, which is not at all good news for endangered species.

Another ESA legislative news is that the House Natural Resources Committee has marked up the SHARE or ‘Sportsmen's’ Act (H.R. 2406) in October. It is highly opposed due to a number of reasons such as the fact that it would stop USFWS efforts to eliminate the illegal ivory trade and stop the government from saving the environment and the public from toxic lead that is used in ammunition or fishing equipment. In early 2016, a Senate hearing on the bill is likely to take place.


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