WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 15, 2019) — Today, Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) joined Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA), Rep. Jim Costa (D-CA), and Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA) in introducing the FISH (Federally Integrated Species Health) Act, H.R. 548, to consolidate the protection of fish and the regulation of waterways under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) into a single agency.
“When multiple federal resource agencies are attempting to manage Endangered Species Act (ESA) recovery, miscommunication and bureaucratic hurdles can stifle progress and make it more difficult to meet our goals,” said Rep. McMorris Rodgers.” By consolidating management of ESA salmon recovery within the Department of Fish and Wildlife, and not spreading enforcement authority among numerous federal agencies, we can more effectively recover endangered salmon in the Pacific Northwest and ensure dams and fish can coexist.”
“The FISH Act moves us toward a more consolidated and logical management of our endangered species and our rivers,” said Rep. Ken Calvert. “It simply makes no sense to have multiple federal agencies responsible for enforcing the ESA. This unnecessary bureaucratic duplication delays the deployment and operation of critical infrastructure that drives our economy and enhances the natural environment. The FISH Act is a good government approach that will benefit species and all stakeholders affected by the ESA through a unified approach to managing threatened and endangered species. I want to thank the bipartisan group of my colleagues who have cosponsored the bill and join me in supporting this needed change.”
“This legislation is a commonsense way to keep the important environmental regulations we need in place while getting rid of the illogical and redundant processes that prevent us from accessing and storing our water wisely,” said Rep. Jim Costa. “Having two different agencies regulating the same species can lead to contradictory or conflicting requirements, which is exactly what happened at Shasta Dam in 2016. The FISH Act should eliminate these types of conflicting requirements and has broad support from water managers across the country, including multiple California water agencies.”
“The Endangered Species Act, while certainly a well-intentioned law, hasn’t been updated since its inception in 1973 and is in desperate need of modernization,” said Rep. Doug LaMalfa. “The FISH Act is one way we can do that. By consolidating the ESA under the Fish and Wildlife Service, we’re streamlining the process for those affected by the law while also improving results for protecting endangered fish and wildlife.”
NOTE: Currently, both the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) have split authority over many of the same waterways under the ESA. This has caused differing – and even contradictory – regulations at times. The FISH Act places the regulatory authority solely within the FWS.
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