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senate Bill S. 1429

Should the Fish & Wildlife Service Publish Data Used to Make Endangered Species Act Decisions Online?

Argument in favor

Data used to make listing decisions under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) should be available to relevant parties. Since that includes the general public, this information should be made publicly available online.

Carmine's Opinion
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08/31/2019
Data used to make listing decisions under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) should be available to relevant parties. Since that includes the general public, this information should be made publicly available online.
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Gopin2020's Opinion
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09/01/2019
The taxpayers have a right to know how these decisions are made. #MAGA
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operaman's Opinion
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09/01/2019
Can’t say they are hiding data. Maybe fabricating data to promote Climate Change. But at least open to taxpayers.
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Argument opposed

This bill is clearly a politically-motivated attempt to burden the already beleaguered FWS. It doesn’t meaningfully advance conservation efforts and is merely another salvo in Republicans’ ongoing attacks on the ESA.

jimK's Opinion
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09/01/2019
This legislation’s title appears to be classic political doublespeak; like calling a nuclear ICBM the ‘peacekeeper’. It is a misleading title and appears to be a Trojan horse. Transparency is a good and valuable principal, and the current policies which make requested data available upon request are sufficient. This bill appears to be an excuse to tie the hands of those making endangered species determinations with endless litigation. The sensitive information gleaned from population studies and the scientific methods used for processing and forecasting could be challenged and by half-truth lawyers and gross exaggerations of specific phrases that could easily sway public opinion by those looking at titles and not the details on the mandated web site; like saying “the ‘green new deal’ means no more cows and no more air travel”. Every aspect of their methods could be endlessly litigated with support from the court of public opinion for the sole purpose of minimizing protection of endangered species- to protect business profits otherwise jeopardized. From the preamble, it appears that all the conservation groups oppose this and the cattlemen support it. I have not read the bill, but the strong support of Republican cosponsors, and the lack of support from conservationists leads me to believe the ‘... and other things’ in the bill’s title may be the real legislation being proposed.
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Patricia's Opinion
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09/01/2019
No. Leave the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Endangered SPecies Act alone, or, give them more workers and more money. There's an idea.
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burrkitty's Opinion
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09/01/2019
The data is available on request already. It’s already easily accessible.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The house has not voted
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Environment and Public Works
    IntroducedMay 13th, 2019

What is Senate Bill S. 1429?

This bill — the 21st Century Endangered Species Transparency Act — would require the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to publish all studies and other documents used for protection decisions online. Currently, these documents are available on request, but aren’t necessarily publicly accessible online without a request. 

Impact

Endangered Species Act (ESA); Fish and Wildlife Services (FWS); and publication of ESA decision-making data.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 1429

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthSen. 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 NoteAlthough 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.”


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / Mario_Hoppmann)

AKA

21st Century Endangered Species Transparency Act

Official Title

A bill to amend the Endangered Species Act of 1973 to require publication on the internet of the basis for determinations that species are endangered species or threatened species, and for other purposes.

    Data used to make listing decisions under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) should be available to relevant parties. Since that includes the general public, this information should be made publicly available online.
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    This legislation’s title appears to be classic political doublespeak; like calling a nuclear ICBM the ‘peacekeeper’. It is a misleading title and appears to be a Trojan horse. Transparency is a good and valuable principal, and the current policies which make requested data available upon request are sufficient. This bill appears to be an excuse to tie the hands of those making endangered species determinations with endless litigation. The sensitive information gleaned from population studies and the scientific methods used for processing and forecasting could be challenged and by half-truth lawyers and gross exaggerations of specific phrases that could easily sway public opinion by those looking at titles and not the details on the mandated web site; like saying “the ‘green new deal’ means no more cows and no more air travel”. Every aspect of their methods could be endlessly litigated with support from the court of public opinion for the sole purpose of minimizing protection of endangered species- to protect business profits otherwise jeopardized. From the preamble, it appears that all the conservation groups oppose this and the cattlemen support it. I have not read the bill, but the strong support of Republican cosponsors, and the lack of support from conservationists leads me to believe the ‘... and other things’ in the bill’s title may be the real legislation being proposed.
    Like (77)
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    No. Leave the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Endangered SPecies Act alone, or, give them more workers and more money. There's an idea.
    Like (18)
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    The data is available on request already. It’s already easily accessible.
    Like (16)
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    I have become so jaded that right of the bat I don’t trust this as it comes from a Texas Republican. Before introducing this bill how about the tRump Republican for the rich party get rid of the rich, self serving, corrupt, treasonous cabinet. Hire back the scientists and relight the accountability government websites that have gone dark? I am editing now just to add that some of my favorite folks on this site are mislead. Wanting to tho high but.......
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    An Office of Government Transparency would get my support, not this. I’m all for transparency, but ask yourself why it should be mandated for one department and not another? If a government-wide program for such publication is not in place, doing so will cost time and money better spent protecting wildlife and environments. That’s their job. Why is someone trying to make that more complicated...
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    Another amazing response and detailed observation by jimK, thank you again. This legislation’s title appears to be classic political doublespeak; like calling a nuclear ICBM the ‘peacekeeper’. It is a misleading title and appears to be a Trojan horse. Transparency is a good and valuable principal, and the current policies which make requested data available upon request is sufficient. This bill appears to be an excuse to tie the hands of those making endangered species determinations with endless litigation. The sensitive information gleaned from population studies and the scientific methods used for processing and forecasting could be challenged and by half-truth lawyers and gross exaggerations of specific phrases that could easily sway public opinion by those looking at titles and not the details on the mandated web site; like saying “the ‘green new deal’ means no more cows and no more air travel”. Every aspect of their methods could be endlessly litigated with support from the court of public opinion for the sole purpose of minimizing protection of endangered species- to protect business profits otherwise jeopardized. From the preamble, it appears that all the conservation groups oppose this and the cattlemen support it. I have not read the bill, but the strong support of Republican cosponsors, and the lack of support from conservationists leads me to believe the ‘... and other things’ in the bill’s title may be the real legislation being proposed.
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    Fish and Wildlife does a pretty good job without a lot of outside help.
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    Why don’t we publish all data on gun ownership, gun related deaths, gun sales and who makes the money vs who dies? That sounds like a better idea, something all Americans - relevant parties - would want to know. This proposed bill will do nothing to save endangered species and our environment. FWS needs more money and more staff, not busy work like that proposed here.
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    Can’t say they are hiding data. Maybe fabricating data to promote Climate Change. But at least open to taxpayers.
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    The taxpayers have a right to know how these decisions are made. #MAGA
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    How about we post all the memos used to deregulate methane emissions? Especially the ones from fat cat oil tycoons.
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    Read the Why Vote No comments people! This bill is clearly a politically-motivated attempt to burden the already beleaguered FWS. It doesn’t meaningfully advance conservation efforts and is merely another salvo in Republicans’ ongoing attacks on the ESA.
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    I don't actually think it will make any difference since the Trump administration completely ignores ALL the public comments! They appear to ask the worst polluting extractive industries what they might like and then give them exactly that!
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    Of course. It is information generated using public dollars. It is information supposedly for the public good therefore there’s absolutely no reason to keep this information from the public
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    John Cornyn is as trustworthy as a cobra. He doesn’t do anything for the good of the people. Whatever his agenda, I don’t support it.
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    This is good in principle but there is no funding set aside to execute this so this will pull resources from other areas. Un-funded mandates tend to cause more issues than they solve.
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    John Cornyn, I doubt you have ever read or even understand the data that is collected. I may be wrong but the data collected is usually published. Government researchers have to publish to keep their job. The data is out there, you just have to read. Maybe a background in statistics would help.
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    I strongly oppose S. 1429. If it comes up for a vote, I ask that my Senators not to vote for it. This legislation has been proposed to further Trump's gutting of the Endangered Species Act by further weakening protections for endangered species so that various industries, oil, gas, etc., can further deplete our environment and increase their profits. Instead we really need to strongly defend the Endangered Species Act, our bedrock environmental law. Noah Greenwald, the Endangered Species Director of the Center for Biological Diversity, has summed up the situation quite well: “Like other Republicans in the pocket of the oil and gas industry, Senator Cornyn (the sponsor of the bill) 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.” Once again we see how Republicans put the financial interests of one percenters and corporations above the best interests of the citizens and environment of our country. Notes: 1. The Center for Biological Diversity has set up an Endangered Species Act Protection Fund. 2. Thanks to JimK for pointing out how once again the Republicans use misleading titles to obscure the real purpose of the legislation they propose. These people have no honor and no sense of shame. Vote them out.
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    Another way to end endangered species! Thanks 45???
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