Skip to Content

Committee Action

Committee to Examine Obama Administration’s Approach for Enforcing Wildlife Laws and Impacts on U.S. Energy

Subpoena issued for long-sought documents

The House Committee on Natural Resources will hold a Full Committee oversight hearing on Wednesday, March 26th entitled, “Collision Course: Oversight of the Obama Administration’s Enforcement Approach for America’s Wildlife Laws and Its Impact on Domestic Energy.” The hearing will examine the Obama Administration’s approach for enforcing wildlife laws, including the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act as it relates to U.S. energy producers, and the Administration’s failure to fully respond to repeated requests from the Committee for documents.

For nearly ten months, the Committee on Natural Resources has been conducting oversight into the enforcement policies and practices of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) concerning these laws. Multiple letters have been sent and the majority of the Committee’s requests remain unanswered. While the Administration has produced some documents, including a production received yesterday, the Committee’s requests for several categories of documents that would explain how policies have been developed or implemented or specific cases investigated and prosecuted have largely gone unfulfilled.

On January 16, 2014, the Committee voted 26-14 to authorize the Chairman to issue subpoenas for documents and testimony for several ongoing oversight matters, including the investigation into the implementation and enforcement of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. In advance of the hearing, a subpoena was issued today to the FWS seeking unredacted copies of emails and other internal documents that were previously made available to the Committee in redacted form, as well as documents about specific enforcement cases, internal policies, and regulations that the Committee had previously requested and not yet been provided voluntarily.

“There are serious concerns that the Obama Administration is implementing these laws in an arbitrary fashion based on an undefined definition of ‘cooperation’ from affected parties. The Administration has repeatedly chosen to only prosecute select violations of these strict liability acts and our goal is to gain a better understanding of how and why these enforcement decisions are made and what defines ‘cooperation’ to the Administration. I look forward to hearing from Director Ashe on these issues and hope to gain clear answers on the Administration’s actions,” said House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings. “The issuance of this subpoena is necessary to ensure compliance with legitimate Congressional oversight and to end the Department’s deliberate, ten month long slow roll in fulfilling Committee requests for documents and answers.”

Click here for more information on the Committee’s oversight efforts as well as correspondence between the Committee and the FWS and DOJ.

WHAT: Full Committee oversight hearing on:

“Collision Course: Oversight of the Obama Administration’s Enforcement Approach for Wildlife Laws and Its Impact on Domestic Energy”


  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Director Dan Ashe
WHEN: Wednesday, March 26th 2014
10:00 AM

WHERE: 1324 Hearing Room in the Longworth House Office Building

Visit the Committee Calendar for additional information, once it is made available. The meeting is open to the public and a live video stream will be broadcast at /live.


Printable PDF of this document