- Not enactedThe President has not signed this bill
- The house has not voted
- The senate has not voted
Committee on Environment and Public WorksIntroducedMay 13th, 2019
- senate Committees
What is Senate Bill S. 1429?
Cost of Senate Bill S. 1429
In-Depth: Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) reintroduced this bill from the 115th Congress to require federal agencies to make data used for ESA decisions publicly available on the Internet. Last Congress, the House sponsor for this bill, Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA), introduced this bill alongside the State, Tribal, and Local Species Transparency and Recovery Act (H.R.1274) and said:
“I am introducing these two bills to improve the transparency and methodology of Endangered Species Act listing decisions. The federal government should be required to consider the best available science to justify listing decisions under the ESA, and all citizens should have access to the data used by agencies to make such determinations. These bills would make the ESA listing process more accountable to states, tribes, and local entities by requiring federal agencies to consider local input. I urge my colleagues to support these commonsense reforms to bring the ESA listing process into the 21st Century.”
The Center for Biological Diversity opposed this bill last Congress, arguing that it put “additional burdens on the already beleaguered [FWS]” and could further endanger species by requiring publication of sensitive location information that could enable poaching. Noah Greenwald, the organization’s endangered species director, said:
“Like other Republicans in the pocket of the oil and gas industry, Senator Cornyn is totally out of step with the majority of Americans who support strong protections for endangered species. Passage of [this bill] would be an absolute disaster for America's imperiled wildlife.”
In other comments, Greenwald argued that legislators could make the FWS work better by supporting better funding for it and the National Marine Fisheries Service to perform their responsibilities under the ESA.
This legislation has nine Republican Senate cosponsors. Last Congress, it had eight Republican Senate cosponsors and didn’t receive a committee vote. Its House companion, sponsored by Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA), had 10 Republican House cosponsors.
Of Note: Although the Endangered Species Act (ESA) had strong bipartisan support (passing the Senate unanimously and the House by a 390-12 vote) when it was enacted in 1973, it has since become a bellwether of the GOP’s rightward drift on conservation issues. In the 114th and 115th Congresses, there were over 110 bills targeting the ESA each session.
In a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing last Congress, Wyoming governor Dave Freudenthal told the committee, “Protection of endangered or threatened species is an appropriate and necessary role for the federal government. [But] over time, the mix of regulations, court decisions, policy guidance, and individual agency actions by presidential administrations of differing but still well-intentioned views have created a nearly unworkable system.”
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association argues that there are three major issues with the ESA as it stands now: 1) environmental groups use the ESA as a weapon against farmers and ranchers, abusing the law by constantly petitioning to add new species to the ESA; 2) the law is administered without regard to economic cost/benefit analysis; and 3) livestock grazing is inaccurately blamed for detracting form conservation efforts.
However, the Center for Biological Diversity’s Greenwald argued that the ESA has been working well, with most listed species meeting the goals outlined in their recovery plans. He argued that “Republican complaints about the ESA are totally disingenuous.” He added, “They don’t want to see stronger protections for endangered species. They just want to protect the bottom line for their campaign contributors from the oil and gas industry.”
- 115th Congress House Sponsor Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA) Press Release
- Center for Biological Diversity Press Release (Opposed, 115th Congress)
- Center for Biological Diversity Action Fund (Context)
Summary by Lorelei Yang
(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / Mario_Hoppmann)