Wednesday, September 28, 2016

New US endangered species listing rules: A better path to conservation?

On Monday, the US Fish and Wildlife Service changed the process for listing endangered species.
Starting next month, conservationists will only be able to petition for one species at a time when seeking federal protections under the US Endangered Species Act. Previously, it was possible to file a single petition on behalf of several species. Despite some push back from environmental groups, FWS officials say the rule could streamline the listing process in a way that benefits threatened species. Environmentalists say it may do the opposite. But Western ranchers see it as a step in the right direction. Is this a credible path to progress between businesses using public land and conservationists? Under the new changes, petitioners will also be required to communicate with state agencies before submitting a request to FWS. At least 30 days before filing, applicants must notify every wildlife agency where petitioned species occur naturally. According to federal officials, that delay will give states time to provide relevant information on local species. But some environmental groups say the process is already prohibitive to citizen conservationists...more

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