Tuesday, July 24, 2018

GOP scrambles to reform Endangered Species Act before midterms

With the looming threat of Democrats retaking the House in November, several Republicans are focusing their legislative efforts on making long-sought changes to the Endangered Species Act (ESA). A slew of recently introduced bills, as well as amendments and riders tacked onto must-pass legislation, underscore the push by congressional Republicans to overhaul the more than 40-year-old law while they still have the numbers to do so. “There were decades of ineffectiveness of the Endangered Species Act and here’s the possibility that something might be able to be done now,” Kathleen Sgamma, president of the Western Energy Alliance, a lobbying group that has long supported efforts to overhaul species protections, said. “If there wasn’t a Republican Congress there may be bills but there would be no chance of it going forward.” Recent political ratings indicate Democrats could reclaim control of the House in the midterm elections, and Republicans know that means their window of opportunity could be closing. “It’s all about the midterms,” said Andrew Rosenberg, director of the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists. “[Republicans] have what might be a unique opportunity to get things through that could never get political support in a more balanced Congress.” “Right now, I think anything that goes up from Congress is likely to get signed by the president,” he added...MORE

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