Washington, D.C. (August 13, 2019) – NFIB commends the United States Department of Interior’s improvements to the regulations of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This new rulemaking—prompted by a petition filed by NFIB in April 2016—is designed to improve the effectiveness of the Act, and to ensure that new threatened species listings are made in full conformance with the law. The new rule requires the United States Fish & Wildlife Services to determine whether regulation is needed to provide adequate protections to threatened species, which promote conservation values while avoiding undue burdens on the small business community.
“This change to the Endangered Species Act removes a costly burden for small businesses and is a victory for the rule of law,” said Karen Harned, Executive Director of the NFIB Small Business Legal Center. “Past ESA restrictions imposed a substantial cost for small businesses, often impairing their ability to expand or even continue operations. We urged the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services to revise its regulations to conform with what the ESA actually requires; rather than imposing one-size fits all blanket restrictions, the new rules require the agency to engage in a much more reasoned analysis of what restrictions are actually needed—so as to ensure that ESA regulation goes no further than Congress intended.”
Under the new rule, “threatened species” will not automatically be subject to the same draconian restrictions applicable to “endangered species.” NFIB believes this change will benefit the conservation values underpinning the ESA. The new approach incentivizes responsible stewardship, which will encourage recovery of endangered species and help prevent other species from slipping into the danger zone.
The prior restrictions under the ESA affected ranchers, farmers, homebuilders, and other businesses working with the land in areas deemed “critical” for the protection of threatened species.
The NFIB Small Business Legal Center protects the rights of small business owners in the nation’s courts. NFIB is currently active in more than 40 cases in federal and state courts across the country and in the U.S. Supreme Court.