Congressman Pete Olson

Representing the 22nd District of Texas

Olson Acts to Give Flexibility on Endangered Species Listing Process

January 30, 2017
Press Release

Washington, DC - Rep. Pete Olson (TX-22) again acted to bring flexibility to how the Department of Interior (DOI) handles the listing of species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The current system of outside groups petitioning to include species as endangered in a short and inflexible time frame forces settlements on the federal government. Olson re-introduced his bill, H.R. 717, the Listing Reform Act, to end arbitrary deadlines that limit DOI’s ability to properly prioritize petitions for listing a species.

“The Endangered Species Act was enacted to protect truly endangered species, not be used as a political weapon for extreme environmentalists,” Rep. Olson said. “Protecting endangered species can and should be done in a practical way. The government should have the flexibility to act quickly and practically on listing and delisting petitions. A triage system much like a hospital emergency room will ensure that the most endangered species get to the front of the line. I look forward to working with President Trump to provide protections for truly endangered species.”

Under ESA, any organization can petition that a species can be listed (or delisted) as “endangered” or “threatened” and thus eligible for special protections. The current process does not allow federal agencies to prioritize these listings by targeting the most endangered species first. Federal, state and local entities responsible for implementing ESA have limited resources and should have flexibility in the listing process.

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Media Contact: Melissa Kelly
202-225-5951