The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources has formed a group to examine the inner-workings of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The working group will be led by Representative Doc Hastings (R-Washington), and Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyoming). Along with Hastings and Lummis, there will be 11 other members to help accomplish the group’s goals, including Congressman Doug Collins of the 6th district of Georgia.
The Endangered Species Act (ESA), passed in 1973, mandated that the federal government has a responsibility to protect endangered species, threatened species, and critical habitats. The Committee on Natural Resources chaired by Congressman Hastings reports that over $15 million in tax payer dollars have been contributed to legal fees regarding ESA related lawsuits. In a press released by the House Natural Resources committee, the goals of the working group include but are not limited to the following:
- How to measure progress within the ESA;
- How to define success;
- Whether the ESA is achieving its goals;
- The role of state and local governments in recovering species;
- Whether the ESA conserves species while ensuring property and water rights;
- The need for public engagement and input.
Regarding the formation of the working group, Congressman Collins states in the press release, “There is a very real need to update the ESA so that we can actually help endangered species recover. The ESA should be a straightforward tool to engage public and private entities to work together towards protection and recovery of species. I am proud to join my colleagues on the ESA Working Group to bring common sense solutions that benefits animals as well as humans.”