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Congressional working group to examine Endangered Species Act

The U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources has formed a working group to examine the Endangered Species Act.

Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., and chair of the committee, and Rep. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., co-chair of the Western Caucus, will lead the working group, according to a press release from the working group.

The group will sponsor forums and hearings in the coming year, seeking input on ways the law can be updated and ways it is working well. The act was last reauthorized in 1988.

The law is designed to protect species whose numbers are shrinking in particular areas. Farmers and others can often find their ability to operate in conflict with the regulations aimed at protecting species.

In the release, Hastings said the group is an opportunity to have an honest conversation and review of the law.

"We want to hear from states, local community leaders, farmers, ranchers, environmental groups, property owners, and businesses -- everyone who cares and has an opinion-- about how the law impacts their lives and how it might be improved," Hastings said. "I believe we all support the goal of wanting to preserve, protect and recover key domestic species. Forty years after it was signed into law, and 25 years since it was last renewed by Congress, I hope there can also be recognition that they are ways this law can be improved and made to work better for both people and species."

According to the release, the working group will also examine the impacts of litigation along with a number of other specific topics and questions including:

* How to measure ESA progress.

* How to define success.

* Whether the ESA is achieving its goals.

* The role of state and local governments in recovering species.

* Whether the ESA preserves species while ensuring property and water rights protection.

* The need for public engagement and input.

-- Matthew Weaver

Work group members

Members of the Endangered Species Act Working Group include:

Rep. Doc Hastings, R- Wash.

Rep. Cynthia Lummis, R- Wyo.

Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev.

Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah

Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga.

Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md.

Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Mich.

Rep. James Lankford, R-Okla.

Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo.

Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas

Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Fla.

Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-Pa.

Rep. David Valadao, R-Calif.




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