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Press Release

Conserving America's Wildlife and Reforming Outdated ESA Regulations

  • WOW Subcommittee

Today, the Subcommittee on Water, Wildlife and Fisheries held a legislative hearing on four bills which will modernize the Endangered Species Act, limit federal overreach in state water rights and reauthorize important programs for healthy wildlife and ecosystems. Subcommittee Chairman Cliff Bentz (R-Ore.) issued the following statement in response:

"The legislation the Water, Wildlife and Fisheries Subcommittee considered today will continue our efforts to address the federal usurpations of state control and authority over a state‚Äôs water resources, combatting the Nutria infestation, and reauthorizing essential U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conservation programs. By strengthening transparency, species recovery efforts, and responding to recent Supreme Court rulings, these measures balance conservation approaches. These reforms will protect our communities while safeguarding our natural environment."

Background

Discussion Draft of H.R. _____, the ESA Amendments Act of 2024, introduced by House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.), makes critical reforms to the ESA to clarify existing definitions and establish an environmental baseline to measure successful outcomes. The legislation will incentivize the recovery of listed species, promote species conservation on private and public lands and create greater transparency and accountability in the ESA regulatory process. 

H.R. 7544, the Water Rights Protection Act of 2024, introduced by U.S. Rep. Celeste Maloy (R-Utah), requires any actions the federal government takes impacting water rights impose no more significant restriction than those imposed by applicable state law. This bill will ensure longstanding precedents, giving states primacy over water rights determinations.

H.R. 8811, the America's Conservation Enhancement (ACE) Act of 2024, introduced by U.S. Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.), reauthorizes and amends conservation programs authorized under the original ACE Act, which was first signed into law in 2020. These programs include the North American Wetland Conservation Program, the Chronic Wasting Disease Task Force and more.

H.R. 8308, the Nutria Eradication and Control Reauthorization Act of 2024, introduced by U.S. Rep. Josh Harder (D-Calif.), reauthorizes a program to eradicate nutria, an invasive rodent species, in the Chesapeake Bay, Louisiana, and other places where nutria have inflicted significant damages to ecosystems.

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