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Wyoming Weighs In On ESA

June 6, 2013 Greater Yellowstone, State of Wyoming No Comments
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Management of endangered species like wolves and bears needs to be accomplished by biologists – not litigation by a variety of special interests.  That was the message to the House Natural Resources Committee this week which held a hearing to consider the proven effectiveness and efficiency of state, tribal, and local conservation efforts, and the uncertainty created because the Endangered Species Act which has not been reauthorized in more than two decades.  Among the witnesses was Wyoming Resident Steve Ferrell who serves as Policy Advisor on Wildlife and Endangered Species for Governor Matt Mead.  Ferrell told the Committee that too many incentives exist for litigation on species recovery, forcing the Fish and Wildlife Service to spend limited resources in federal courtrooms instead of on conservation.  He says one of the most urgent needs is to make the EAS less susceptible to litigation.  He says changes to the EAS and the Equal Access to Justice Act make that reduce the financial incentives to litigate would make the ESA implementation more efficient and transparent.  Says  Ferrell:  “In Wyoming, reduced incentives to litigate would have improved the effectiveness of implementing the ESA for wolves and grizzly bears and others.”  He says despite the state’s record for recovery of these species, litigation continues with no finality. Ferell told the committee that states are unquestionably qualified to be effective partners in the implementation of the ESA. Other panelists agreed with Ferrell that the Endangered Species Act is imperfect, and needs to be examined to strengthen species conservation.

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