Today, Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and Senator David Vitter (R-LA) introduced the Native Species Protection Act (S 1142).
The bill seeks to clarify that noncommercial species found entirely within the borders of a single State are not in interstate commerce or subject to regulation under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 or any other provision of law enacted as an exercise of the power of Congress to regulate interstate commerce.
“There are real environmental benefits to protecting endangered species from extinction, but the federal law intended to establish such protections – the Endangered Species Act – is in serious need of reform,” said Senator Lee. “In the nearly fifty years since it was signed into law, the ESA has done more to impede economic activity, obstruct local conservation efforts, and give federal bureaucrats regulatory control over private property, than it has done to protect endangered species. And far too often, the federal government oversteps its constitutionally limited powers by using the ESA to regulate single-state species – such as the Utah prairie dog, a species that knows no home other than Utah. The Native Species Protection Act would change that, by clarifying that the federal government has no legitimate regulatory jurisdiction over species found exclusively within the borders of a single state. This is a commonsense reform that would limit the damage caused by federal mismanagement of protected species and their habitats, while empowering state and local officials to pursue sensible conservation plans with their communities.”
"States are best equipped to manage wildlife populations within their borders in a responsible manner,” said Senator Hatch. “The Native Species Protection Act will allow state wildlife management authorities, in cooperation with local communities, to develop balanced conservation plans that meet the unique needs of state-specific species and affected areas. I’m pleased to be a part of this effort and hope that the Senate will act on it quickly."
“There needs to be a delicate balance between protecting endangered species, private property rights, and local economies, and this bill will ensure that federal bureaucrats don’t take advantage of landowners,” said Senator Vitter. “Common sense dictates that if someone plans to build a garden on his own land, he should not be subjected to unnecessary government intrusion and expensive penalties. It’s important that we protect endangered species, but that does not mean that far left environmental activists should use the law to endanger private property rights.”
You can read the full text of the bill here.