McMorris Votes to Update and Modernize the Endangered Species Act

(Washington, DC) –Congresswoman Cathy McMorris (WA-05) and the House of Representatives voted in favor today of the Threatened Endangered Species Act (TESRA) of 2005 (H.R. 3824). McMorris, a member of the Resources Committee, is an original co-sponsor of the bill that will improve and update the Endangered Species Act of 1973.

“After 30 years we finally have a commonsense solution that will facilitate the relationship between protecting endangered species and using our natural resources and land,” said McMorris. “It is time to move away from burdensome regulations, lawsuits and punitive settlements and focus on using objective scientific standards, creating stronger roles for local and state governments, and increasing accountability.”

Originally adopted under the best intentions, ESA has failed to achieve its purpose of recovering endangered species to healthy and sustainable populations. Less than 1 percent (10 of roughly 1300 species) have recovered in the Act’s history. Yet at the same time it has been a source of conflict for communities and local landowners, often leading to bureaucratic red tape and lawsuits.

“ESA has had a huge impact on the river systems in the Pacific Northwest. Judge Redden’s decision regarding the Snake River Dams and the relicensing of Box Canyon in Pend Oreille County are two local examples of how the ESA is stifling economic growth, while not even providing increased protection of the fish. In the case of Box Canyon the PUD was forced to put in fish ladders for fish that were never even in the river. It is these types of ridiculous demands that we hope this bill will fix.”

TESRA fixes the long-outstanding problems of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by:

  • focusing on species recovery
  • providing incentives
  • increasing openness and accountability
  • strengthening scientific standards by using objective scientific standards
  • creating bigger roles for state and local governments
  • compensating private property owners for lost use of land
  • eliminating dysfunctional critical habitat designations
  • making Recovery Plans required by law, within two years of listing, and requiring them to undergo regular review

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