Climate Change Forces Proposed Changes to the Endangered Species Act (ESA)

13 08 2008
The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) has proposed to update a portion of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) regulations that govern the endangered species responsibilities of federal agencies, known as Section 7.
Under these proposed regulatory changes, federal agencies would have the authority to decide for themselves, without consultation with U.S. Fish and Wildlife (FWS) or National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), if their construction projects threaten an endangered or threatened species. The proposed regulations also prohibit federal agencies from linking greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to the deterioration of any species’ habitat. Federal agencies that determine that a project does not have an adverse impact to a threatened or endangered species would accept all liability for any harm that results to the protected wildlife or habitat. According to DOI, the changes will make it easier for agencies to understand when and how the regulations apply and reflect current practices and recent courts cases.

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