Much is being printed about the proposed regulatory modifications to the federal Endangered Species Act.  Bottom line: the Administration acted, activists responded, and states sued.  This is getting rather predictable.

The changes are scheduled to take effect 30 days after the final rules are published in the Federal Register.  Highlights specific to our interests are:

  • The creation of a more clear regulatory distinction between “threatened” and “endangered”. The protections provided to “endangered” species would therefore no longer be automatically applied to “threatened” species;
  • A recognition that the existing habitat may be sufficient, thereby reducing the broad term “critical habitat”;
  • Allows the consideration of economic factors in the listing of a species, which is currently prohibited; and,
  • Removes vagueness on many terms and phrases that impede the development of opinions and regulations (such as the Biological Opinions that dictate Delta flows).

And then there is California…  We have our own California Endangered Species Act, plus pending legislation SB 1, which would lock-in environmental regulations as 2017, prior to President Trump’s inauguration.  No coincidence there.