Western Governors Association Wants to Roll Back Endangered Species Protection – Arizona News

Western Governors Association Wants to Roll Back Endangered Species Protection – Arizona News

Don’t be fooled by the resolution’s name: The actual goal has very little to do with conservation.

Arizona is home to over two-dozen endangered birds, mammals, reptiles and fish. But if the governors of Western states have their way, federal protections designed to help endangered wildlife across the U.S. would be curtailed or left up to states.

The resolution applauds the 1973 Endangered Species Act (ESA) for preventing the loss of threatened and endangered species. But  it also argues that species listings “can impact Western states’ abilities to promote economic development, accommodate population growth, and maintain and expand infrastructure such as roads, water projects, and transmission lines.”

“In these circumstances, the economic costs of ESA compliance can fall disproportionately on Western states and local communities,” the resolution continues.

The answer? Well, according to the resolution, states should be “full partners” in administering the Nixon-era ESA. Beyond federal consultation, the association also is in favor of amending the ESA to avoid “overly expansive” designations of critical habitat for endangered species.

The resolution also includes the bizarre proposal that Congress “dis-incentivize litigation that strains federal resources.” (Although the association doesn’t specify how this would be achieved).

Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Tucson-based Center for Biological Diversity, told Phoenix New Times that the association’s complaints about burdensome federal wildlife management are simply not based in reality.

“Nothing is stopping states from managing wildlife in sustainable ways,” he said. “It’s only…

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