From: The Honorable Doc Hastings

Sent By:
Date: 5/23/2014

Dear Colleague:

I request you join me in writing the following letter to Director Ashe of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and Administrator Sullivan the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to request an appropriate extension of the public comment period for the agencies’ proposed sweeping changes to Endangered Species Act (ESA) regulations. The agencies’ proposal could slow down or stop a variety of economic activity, including farming, energy production and transmission, and transportation, on hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of acres of private and public lands.

We have seen countless examples throughout the nation where litigation-driven, non-science based ESA policies have had a devastating impact on our communities – without recovering species.  FWS and NOAA released three proposed rules on May 12th that would make sweeping changes to how ESA critical habitat designations are determined, expanding the authority of the federal government on areas even where there are not currently any documented species. These proposals would impact the more than 680 current habitat designations nationwide, as well as the hundreds more slated to be finalized in the next few years.  This will be accelerated by settlements, negotiated in 2011 by the Department of Interior behind closed doors with two litgious groups, that are increasing the number of ESA listings and critical habitat designations nationwide.  The draft rules were originally issued and sent to the Office of Management and Budget over a year ago, and yet the agencies only recently released these rules, providing just 60 days for the public to provide comments.

Once again, I ask that you join me in requesting a six-month extension to the public comment period, so that our constituents have the opportunity to weigh in on these proposed rules that could significantly impact local economies.  Please contact Kate Woods of my staff at (202) 225-5816 or with any questions, or to sign on.


     Doc Hastings
Member of Congress