more commentary on proposed Section 7 regs
At Uncommon Ground, Kent has expressed skepticism over the proposed Section 7 consultation regulations. In particular, he points to NOAA's recent notification of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that the approval of a natural gas terminal required Endangered Species Act consultations, and then asks, "What do you think the chances are that NOAA would have been allowed to issue such an opinion if Kempthorne's regulatory changes had been in effect? Do you believe him when he calls it a 'narrow regulatory change'?"
The answer to Kent's question, of course, is that Interior Secretary Kempthorne's proposed regulatory changes would have no effect whatsoever on the ability of federal agencies in charge of enforcing the ESA from sua sponte demanding other agencies to consult with them over a proposed action.
Kent's post is another example of an analysis that fails to understand that the proposed regulations will have little impact on the federal government's ability to implement the ESA and that they will enable ESA enforcement agencies to spend more time actually protecting endangered species, instead of wasting time engaging in consultations over a project with no negative impact on a species.
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