EDUCATION: Update from Western Energy Alliance September 15, 2015

Sue-and-Settle Continues to Dictate Endangered Species Listings
In testimony before the Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Superfund, Waste Management and Regulatory Oversite, we released an updated analysis of Endangered

Species Act (ESA) litigation from two serial litigants, WildEarth Guardians (WEG) and the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD).

Our report reviews petitions and lawsuits filed since a prominent 2011 settlement with the Department of the Interior involving hundreds of species that included an agreement by WEG and CBD to curb the number of species petitions and lawsuits.

The data show another year later, another chance for the environmental groups to overload the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) with listing petitions and lawsuits that divert resources away from actual species recovery and into litigation and bureaucratic process. The analysis shows:

53 petitions have been filed with FWS requesting listing or uplisting (from threatened to endangered) on 129 species. WEG and CBD are responsible for 38 (72%) of the petitions covering 113 (88%) of the species.
Requests for listings have climbed to an average of 31 species per year, up from 20 prior to 2007.
71 different plaintiffs have filed 43 lawsuits challenging FWS decisions on 107 different species. WEG and CBD remain the most prolific litigants, with 23 (53%) lawsuits involving 45 (42%) species.

Interior’s justification for entering into the closed-door settlement agreements that excluded the public, elected officials, states, localities, and other stakeholders was to limit future listing petitions and litigation. Ceding that much power to one special interest has placed a huge burden on the federal government, states, counties, productive industries, private landowners, and the entire economy. Since the two environmental groups keep suing, the settlements can only be judged a resounding failure.

Western Energy Alliance supports congressional reform of the ESA to ensure the public once again has a seat at the table and that resources are spent actually conserving species rather than on lawyers. Additional data, analysis and background material are available on our sue-and-settle webpage.


Western Energy Alliance
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