In July we reported on five bills that propose to amend various aspects of the Endangered Species Act:

  • H.R. 2603 – would remove listings of non-native species;
  • H.R. 717 – would modify the process for listing determinations;
  • H.R. 3131 – would require a party to prevail in order to recover attorneys’ fees and place a cap on fees;
  • H.R. 1274 – would require the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to make listing determination data available to impacted states; and
  • H.R. 424 – would require the Department of the Interior to reissue final rules relating to the listing of the gray wolf in the Western Great Lakes and Wyoming.

On Wednesday, October 4, 2017, the House Committee on Natural Resources passed each bill by a roll call vote.  Given the Republican majority in the House, the Committee’s action was not unexpected.  However, Committee approval is not the last step in the process, and the Democrats have a history of successfully blocking any type of Endangered Species Act reform that they consider objectionable.  Should Congress adopt amendments to the Endangered Species Act, it will mark the first amendments to the Endangered Species Act in thirteen years, and, depending on the revisions adopted, potentially the first revisions to the listing process since 1988.  Stay tuned as we continue to monitor the process.