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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is expected to address many key issues related to enforcement of the Endangered Species Act that have presented unnecessary burdens for residential construction for many years.
A two-year effort to reform the Endangered Species Program was included in a final plan for retrospective regulatory review released by the Department of the Interior on Aug. 23 and stemming from President Obama’s Executive Order 13563 on “Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review.”
While the Interior Department’s plan does not specify a date for the start of the ESA review, it has identified three critical areas for improving the effectiveness of its conservation efforts while improving the clarity and consistency of the ESA permitting process and reducing its administrative burdens.
The targeted areas are:
- Reviewing and revising the process for designating critical habitat to make it more efficient, defensible and consistent
- Improving the ESA listing process by engaging the states more effectively in the protection process
- Clarifying the definition of the phrase, “destruction or adverse modification” of crucial habitat to provide a more consistent basis for determining through Section 7 consultation whether a federal action on critical habitat will have a negative impact on the recovery of a listed species
The impact that the review will have on current actions by Fish and Wildlife — including its recent decision to review close to 1,000 candidate and petitioned species — remains to be seen.
For more information, email Larissa Mark at NAHB, or call her at 800-368-5242 x8157.