On the heels of its notice of federal rulemaking under the National Environmental Policy Act (see our July 2 blog post) and other more modest efforts at reform on the administrative level, the Administration on July 19 announced a series of proposed changes to the regulations governing administration of the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). Among the changes, the proposed rules would revise provisions governing:
- Listing of species and designation of critical habitat (Section 4); and
- Interagency consultations on critical habitat and related mitigation (Section 7).
Probably the most dramatic element is the proposed rescission of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s long-standing 4(d) rule, which years ago extended protections of endangered species to those species designated only as “threatened.” The Administration emphasizes that its regulatory efforts are needed to “improve” and “clarify” administration of the ESA. Three proposed rules are expected to be published in the Federal Register in the next several days:
- Revision of the Regulations for Listing Species and Designating Critical Habitat;
- Revision of Regulations for Interagency Cooperation; and
- Revision of the Regulations for Prohibitions to Threatened Wildlife and Plants.
Any Comments will be due in sixty (60) days (late September 2018).