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U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., wants states to have a greater say in how the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is used. He introduced legislation this week with Senators John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and John Thune, R-S.D., that would require the federal government to disclose the data it is using for listings to affected states before any ESA decision is made. The legislation would also require that state-collected data be part of any ESA consideration.  

“The Endangered Species Act has long been a sore spot for states. Their expertise in managing species within their borders is often ignored and the data used to justify a listing is not always disclosed. We should be embracing a state’s experience instead of running from it,” said Enzi. “My bill would give states the voice they need to make sure endangered species are protected while making sure what’s happening on the ground is not ignored by an out-of-state regulator.” 

When a species is listed and delisted from the Endangered Species List, this typically results in the transferring of jurisdiction for management of a species between state and federal authority. This is one reason why it is important to have more input from the states given their role in species management, according to Enzi. It will also help  to make sure the federal government is not rushing listings that could have a negative impact on grazing, and oil and gas activities.

Click here to read the text of Enzi’s legislation.