Skip to Content

Press Release

Committee, Western Caucus Members Launch Endangered Species Act Working Group

  • General Logo Photo

Today, the House Committee on Natural Resources and the Congressional Western Caucus launched an Endangered Species Act (ESA) working group. The working group will seek to examine how the ESA is being implemented by federal agencies, the practical impacts on the American people, how litigation is driving ESA decision making and how success is defined under the ESA. The goal of the working group will be to publish a series of policy recommendations that reform the ESA to the benefit of the American people and species conservation.

"The Endangered Species Act is a well-intentioned but entirely outdated piece of legislation which must be brought into the 21st Century. With hundreds of species being listed under the Endangered Species list but with a dismal 3 percent having been delisted, clearly something is not working. It’s time to take action. Today, we’re formally launching the Endangered Species Working Group with members from the House Committee on Natural Resources and the Western Caucus to take the first significant action on this legislation since the 1980s. This year is the 50th anniversary of the ESA, and since its creation it has been twisted and morphed by radical litigants into a political firefight rather than an important piece of conservation law. I’d like to thank Congressman Newhouse and the other members of this working group for taking these initial steps to modernize this archaic law." - House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.)

"Only in the federal government would five percent be deemed a passing grade, but that is exactly how 'successful' the Endangered Species Act has been at recovering species. It is clear the ESA is in desperate need of reform, not only for the sake of our species, but for the men and women who are negatively impacted by its land use restrictions, impact on property values, and costly permitting requirements. I am proud to launch this working group with House Natural Resources Chairman Bruce Westerman to work towards providing tangible, actionable solutions to the ESA for the betterment of the American people and species recovery." - Congressional Western Caucus Chairman Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.)

"For far too long, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) has been weaponized by environmental and activist groups to prevent development in many of our rural communities. We are seeing this firsthand in Northern Nevada, where the listings of several species have led to the halt of projects such as geothermal plants and lithium mines. Add that to the constant concerns surrounding sage grouse, and it’s clear that we must find long term solutions to support threatened species without destroying development. That’s why I am pleased to join this ESA Working Group and I look forward to working alongside my Western Caucus colleagues as we develop policies that will modernize the ESA so that our communities, businesses, and wildlife all benefit." - U.S. Rep. Mark Amodei (R-Nev.)

"While well-intentioned, the Endangered Species Act has been weaponized by extremists to lockup our lands, fundraise, and put the interests of the American people last. It shouldn’t take decades and an act of Congress to delist a fully recovered species. I am excited to get to work as a member of the ESA Working Group and look forward to closely coordinating with the House Committee on Natural Resources and the Western Caucus to bring some much-needed reforms and commonsense back to this process." - U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.)

"I am proud to be part of this initiative dedicated to examining the status of various endangered species, such as the Alabama Beach Mouse, which have been wrongfully listed as endangered. Our goal is to ensure taxpayer dollars are being spent appropriately and to remove unnecessary government rules and regulations protecting species that are not endangered or at risk of being endangered." - U.S. Rep. Jerry Carl (R-Ala.)

"Special interest groups have used the Endangered Species Act to halt growth and even impact military readiness. In my district, Ft. Cavazos is continuously navigating ESA overreach, putting the training and military readiness of our service members at risk. I’m proud to join the Congressional Western Caucus and be a part of the ESA working group so that we can collaborate on commonsense solutions to protect growth, readiness and species conservation." - U.S. Rep. John Carter (R-Texas)

"Despite its positive intentions, the Endangered Species Act has been woefully ineffective and continuously used as a weapon against farmers, ranchers, and rural America. The Endangered Species Act Working Group is a critical step in modernizing the ESA to properly balance species conservation with meaningful economic development. I would like to thank both Chairman Westerman and Chairman Newhouse for their leadership on this critical issue." - U.S. Rep. John Duarte (R-Calif.)

"Since the passage of the Endangered Species Act in 1973, the United States has had the world’s strongest species protection legislation. Since its enactment, the ESA has grown old over the years and is fundamentally due for a focus on modernization. For far too long the federal government has been making listing decisions based on secret science and pseudo-science, including studies that do not allow for peer-review of the underlying data. The government shouldn't have anything to hide if these listings are indeed based on merit utilizing the best available science. The Working Group will focus on improving the Endangered Species Act and supporting commonsense changes that increase transparency, save taxpayer money, ensure local involvement in species conservation and the designation process, limit the hourly rate attorneys can charge the taxpayers for lawsuits and require the federal government to make available to Congress and the public any data it uses to determine which species to list as endangered." - U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.)

"The Endangered Species Act has had profound impacts on my state of Wyoming – unfortunately, that includes limiting economic development and restricting the implementation of reasonable and effective land, water and resource management and use. It is an act that could work if it were implemented as intended – to recover actually threatened or endangered fish, wildlife and vegetation. It has instead become a business in and of itself, with an entire economy built around endless studies, monitoring, field work, and lawsuits which allow environmental groups to use the federal government to impose restrictions on the use of private property and limit our ability to use our energy, land and water resources, while also receiving massive federal subsidies through 'sue and settle' actions. I look forward to sharing thoughts and ideas with my colleagues on the ESA Working Group as we reevaluate and refocus efforts on what the act was originally intended to do. We cannot continue to allow activist courts or agency bureaucrats to block sound species management or infringe on property rights any longer." - U.S. Rep. Harriet Hageman (R-Wyo.)  


Since Congress enacted the ESA in 1973, approximately 1,700 species have been listed as threatened or endangered, not counting experimental populations. Only 3 percent of these species have been considered recovered and delisted.

In addition, the Biden administration has taken steps to undo the critical work done by the Trump administration to reform the ESA. This has left stakeholders and members of Congress frustrated and substantially increased the appetite to find targeted and sustainable reforms to the ESA.

Members of the working group: U.S. Reps. Mark Amodei (R-Nev.), Cliff Bentz (R-Ore.), Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), Jerry Carl (R-Ala.), John Carter (R-Texas), John Duarte (R-Calif.), Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), Harriet Hageman (R-Wyo.), Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.) and Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.)