The Public Lands Council and National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) applauded a decision by the Department of the Interior and the Department of Commerce to make final, jointly published, revised regulations, for the consultation process under the Endangered Species Act.
On Thursday, December 11, the administration announced the release of their final rule amending Section 7 implementation regulations under the ESA. The regulations, which take effect 30 days after being published in the Federal Register, clarify that there is no requirement to consult on greenhouse gas emissions' contribution to global warming and its potential impacts on listed species (e.g., polar bear).
The revised regulation will streamline consultations between agencies, allowing for a more efficient use of limited resources and provide clarity and focus within the agencies. The agencies will maintain their responsibility to enforce the ESA in protecting species.
"The Endangered Species Act is not the correct way to regulate greenhouse gases,” explained Skye Krebs, a rancher from Ione, Oregon, and Public Lands Council President. "Doing so diminishes our capacity to protect species in immediate danger and puts the important question of greenhouse gas regulation in the hands of agencies who are not equipped to handle that subject.”
Krebs continued, "The question of whether and how to address greenhouse gas emissions is one that is currently being debated in Congress, which is the appropriate forum for this discussion. The ESA should not be used as a back-door mechanism to force the debate or choice of actions on climate change.”
PLC and NCBA submitted comments to Fish and Wildlife Service supporting the revised regulations, which will provide a narrow set of improvements that allow for more effective administration of the ESA to benefit both species and the public. These revisions will also clarify that the ESA is not a vehicle for regulating climate change.
"While this proposed rule is an important first step in amending ESA to achieve its originally intended goals, further improvements to the administration of ESA are needed,” Krebs stated.