Congressional Western Caucus calls for revisions to Endangered Species Act

Caucus chair Rep. Dan Newhouse has been calling for the Gray Wolf’s delisting for some time.

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Members of the Congressional Western Caucus are making their case for why the Endangered Species Act is hurting rural communities across the United States. Caucus chairman Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Wa.) points to the gray wolf, a species he has been pushing to be delisted for some time now.

“This is truly an issue that shows the weaknesses, or the things about the Endangered Species Act that need to be fixed. The Gray Wolf—that should be cause for celebration because they have returned in record numbers. They’re doing well throughout the country, and yet, we continue to keep them on the Endangered Species List,” Rep. Newhouse said.

Just recently, Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.) filed the Northern Great Lakes Wolf Recovery Act. It would create the framework for delisting the wolf in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Rep. Newhouse argues the Endangered Species Act (ESA) has existed long enough to prove the legislation works.

“We are now 50 years since the ESA was signed into law under President Nixon. There have been approximately 1,359 different species of plants, animals, and insects that have been put on the list. And get this, only 72 to 75% of those species have ever come off the list, meaning that they have been prevented from becoming extinct and no longer required protection. Seventy-two, a failing grade in anyone’s estimation except maybe in the federal government,” Newhouse said.

Sen. Newhouse is not calling for the law to be removed, he says it just needs to be reworked.

“Nobody’s talking about getting rid of the Endangered Species Act. Like I said, the original mission of the law is noble and something we should make efforts to protect species from becoming extinct,” Newhouse said. However, he does feel as though it has become weaponized against landowners.

“The law does not work with landowners in a sufficient way to encourage practices that would help species. In fact, if an endangered species is found on your property, you’re being penalized, ” Newhouse said.

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