The Times News: Sen. Mike Crapo: Bolster Transparency of Listing Species

By: Sen. Mike Crapo –

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 22 species have been listed in Idaho under the Endangered Species Act. There are 1,590 ESA listings nationwide. The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service reported that only 28 species have been delisted due to recovery in the more than 40 years since the ESA’s enactment. Considering the long-term, far-reaching and rigid conservation requirements that accompany listings, we must especially ensure that any ESA determinations are guided by sound science that is publicly available in an open process. The lack of transparency is unacceptable.

I recently co-sponsored legislation to further this effort. S. 292, the 21st Century Endangered Species Transparency Act, which is also co-sponsored by fellow Idaho Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho), would amend the ESA to require the U.S. Secretaries of the Interior and Commerce to publish on the Internet data used in listing and delisting federally endangered and threatened species. Requiring the administration to be transparent about the data used for ESA listings can help make certain that the best available science is used in an open, public ESA listing process. The legislation also provides protections for personal landowner information.

Additionally, again, I am co-sponsoring the Secret Science Reform Act with the shared goal of shedding much needed light on federal regulation. This legislation would prohibit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from proposing, finalizing or disseminating regulations or assessments based upon science that is not transparent or not reproducible.

I also co-sponsored S. 293, the Endangered Species Settlement Reform Act. The bill, also co-sponsored by Sen. Jim Risch, would prevent closed-door settlements under the ESA. Such settlements often have far-reaching repercussions and must be transparent. For example, a 2011 settlement led to a six-year listing work plan for the USFWS to review and potentially list more than 250 species. The legislation would open up litigation to local stakeholders and give impacted states and counties a seat at the table, while also limiting the use of taxpayer dollars to fund ESA lawsuits…

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