This afternoon, the Department of Interior proposed several reforms to the way it implements the Endangered Species Act. Chief among them is to eliminate prospectively a regulation that imposes the same burdensome regulations on endangered and threatened species, despite the very different prospects they face. As longtime followers may recall, PLF filed two rulemaking petitions on behalf of the National Federation of Independent Businesses and the Washington Cattlemen’s Association, urging this change.
If finalized, this reform would significantly benefit both property owners and endangered species. By tailoring regulations to the threats species face, this reform would align the incentives of landowners with the interests of species. It will also encourage states, property owners, and conservationists to collaborate on innovative recovery efforts, without the conflict that has typified past implementation of the statute. For 45 years, the Endangered Species Act has successfully prevented species extinction but failed to promote recovery, with less than 3% of listed species having recovered. This reform might finally enable the achievement of both goals.