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Press Release

Committee Spotlights Outdated Endangered Species Act

  • WOW Subcommittee

Today, the Subcommittee on Water, Wildlife, and Fisheries held a hearing on legislation centered around reforms to the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Subcommittee Chairman Cliff Bentz (R-Ore.) issued the following statement in response:

“Today’s Water, Wildlife, and Fisheries Subcommittee Legislative Hearing focused on three joint resolutions under the Congressional Review Act (CRA), including one of my own, all of which relate to the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Each CRA would over turn Biden administration actions that inappropriately expanded and applied the ESA, making it even more confusing and litigation prone. Simply put: the ESA is 50 years old and in desperate need of major modification. Unfortunately, as it currently stands, the ESA and the thousands of regulations related to it are a major source of litigation, particularly in the area of species listing. It’s long past time to get to work on fixing this, and I’m glad we were able to take another step in that direction today.”


While initially well-intentioned, the ESA is now more than 50 years old and in desperate need of oversight and modernization. The Biden Administration continues adding to the problem by creating unnecessary and burdensome regulations related to the ESA. Under the Congressional Review Act, Congress can pass joint resolutions which overturn rules made by federal agencies. Members heard from witnesses and discussed several such resolutions at today's hearing.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) published a final rule in November 2022 adding the Lesser Prarie Chicken to the Endangered Species List. H.J. Res. 29 would repeal this rule. 

USFWS and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announced in June 2022 they were rescinding the Trump administration’s regulatory definition of “habitat.” This change opens the door for USFWS and NMFS to designate critical habitat in areas that are not currently occupied by the species in question. H.J. Res. 46 would repeal this rule.

Tthe USFWS announced the uplisting of the Northern Long-Eared Bat in November 2022 from a threatened to an endangered species on the federal endangered species list. H.J. Res. 49 would repeal this rule. 

Each of these will provide greater regulatory certainty to communities and industries across America, particularly those in rural areas. For more information, click here.