Apr 062015
 

Amendments approved for inclusion in a budget resolution passed by the Senate have drawn the ire (and fire) of environmental groups. Defenders of Wildlife attacked the amendments for "directly harm[ing] our wildlife and public lands," citing in particular Senate Amendments 422, 659 and 838.

S. Amdt. 422, which deals with the northern long-eared bat, was agreed to by Unanimous Consent by the Senate on March 27, just a few days before it was listed as threatened by the Fish and Wildlife Service. It was sponsored by Sen. Thune, John [R-SD].   (Press release)

Text:

SEC. ___. DEFICIT-NEUTRAL RESERVE FUND RELATING TO ENSURING THAT THE CONSERVATION OF NORTHERN LONG-EARED BAT POPULATIONS AND LOCAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ARE COMPATIBLE.

The Chairman of the Committee on the Budget of the Senate may revise the allocations of a committee or committees, aggregates, and other appropriate levels in this resolution for one or more bills, joint resolutions, amendments, amendments between the Houses, motions, or conference reports relating to the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), which may include requirements that State conservation plans relating to the northern long-eared bat are given maximum flexibility to be successful so as to preserve and protect local and rural economies before any Federal listing decision is made with respect to the northern long-eared bat, by the amounts provided in such legislation for those purposes, provided that such legislation would not increase the deficit over either the period of the total of fiscal years 2016 through 2020 or the period of the total of fiscal years 2016 through 2025. (emphasis added by ESWR)

Defenders' take: "Amendment 422 . . . would block, perhaps permanently, a final U.S. Fish and Wildlife (FWS) decision due April 2, 2015 about whether to list the northern long-eared bat under the ESA, in deference to vague and undefined “State conservation plans.” There is no requirement that the State conservation plans adequately or actually protect the bat.  The northern long-eared bat has declined by 99 percent and it should be given full protection as an endangered species."

S. Amendment 659 would require the Fish and Wildlife Service to consider the cumulative economic impacts when designating critical habitat. It passed the Senate, 52-42 (03/27/2015)

Text (also below):

Two Democrats -- Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dak0ta -- joined 50 Republicans in approving the amendment. The nays included 40 Democrats and Republicans Kelly Ayotte (N.H.) and Susan Collins (Maine). Not voting were Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Richard Shelby (R-A-AL), and Tom Udall (D-NM).

SA 659. Mr. COTTON submitted an amendment:

SEC. ___.   SPENDING-NEUTRAL RESERVE FUND RELATING TO ENSURING PROPER ECONOMIC CONSIDERATION IN DESIGNATION OF CRITICAL HABITAT.

The Chairman of the Committee on the Budget of the Senate may revise the allocations of a committee or committees, aggregates, and other appropriate levels in this resolution for one or more bills, joint resolutions, amendments, amendments between the Houses, motions, or conference reports relating to critical habitat designations, which may include requirement that the United States Fish and Wildlife Service examine the cumulative economic effects of the designation, such as on land or property uses or values, regional employment, or revenue impacts on states and units of local government, by the amounts provided in such legislation for those purposes, provided that such legislation would not raise new revenue and would not increase the deficit over either the period of the total of fiscal years 2016 through 2020 or the period of the total of fiscal years 2016 through 2025.

(emphasis added)

Defenders' take: "Amendment 659 . . . would require the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to perform an unnecessary, costly and time-consuming examination of the “cumulative” economic effects of a critical habitat designation – an approach Congress rejected decades ago as dangerous to the protection of imperiled species. The FWS already analyzes and solicits public comment on the incremental costs and benefits of designating critical habitat.

Amendment No. 838 was introduced by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and approved 51-49  with one Republican, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, joining the 46 Democrats and two Independents voting no.

(Purpose: To establish a spending-neutral reserve fund relating to the disposal of certain Federal land)

SEC. ___. SPENDING-NEUTRAL RESERVE FUND RELATING TO THE DISPOSAL OF CERTAIN FEDERAL LAND.

The Chairman of the Committee on the Budget of the Senate may revise the allocations of a committee or committees, aggregates, and other appropriate levels in this resolution for one or more bills, joint resolutions, amendments, amendments between the Houses, motions, or conference reports relating to initiatives to sell or transfer to, or exchange with, a State or local government any Federal land that is not within the boundaries of a National Park, National Preserve, or National Monument, by the amounts provided in such legislation for those purposes, provided that such legislation would not raise new revenue and would not increase the deficit over either the period of the total of fiscal years 2016 through 2020 or the period of the total of fiscal years 2016 through 2025.

Defenders' take: "Amendment 838 . . . would authorize the sale, transfer or exchange of federal lands to state and local governments, which in turn could sell them off to private interests for oil and gas drilling and other development. This amendment endangers our nation’s most treasured places, such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. This devastating amendment could result in the loss of recreational access to all Americans and the destruction of some of our most iconic conservation lands and wildlife habitat."

Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) (H.R. 1667) To amend the Endangered Species Act of 1973 to require publication of the basis for determinations that species are endangered species or threatened species, and for other purposes.

Rep. McClintock, Tom [R-CA-4] (H.R. 1668) - To amend the Endangered Species Act of 1973 to provide for suspension of application of the Act to water releases by Federal and State agencies in river basins that are affected by drought, and for other purposes."

Rep. Noem, Kristi L. [R-SD-At Large] (H.R. 1589) - To prohibit the use of funds by the Secretary of the Interior to make a final determination on the listing of the northern long-eared bat under the Endangered Species Act of 1973.

  • 3/24/15 - Referred to the House Cmte on Natural Resources

Rep. Flores, Bill [R-TX-17] (Introduced 01/28/2015) H.R.585  - To amend the Endangered Species Act of 1973 to establish a procedure for approval of certain settlements.

  • 3/17/15  - Referred to the Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial And Antitrust Law.

Sen. Paul, Rand [R-KY] (Introduced 03/24/2015) - Endangered Species Management Self-Determination Act

  • Read twice and referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works

 

 

http://wilderness.org/press-release/court-decision-orders-blm-reconsider-allowing-target-shooting-sonoran-desert-national

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