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Endangered Species Act: New Threat to Texas and Need for Reform
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Endangered Species Act: New Threat to Texas and Need for Reform

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Presented by Robert G. Szabo, Van Ness Feldman, P.C. at the Texas Water Conservation Association conference in Dallas, Texas March 8, 2012 …

Presented by Robert G. Szabo, Van Ness Feldman, P.C. at the Texas Water Conservation Association conference in Dallas, Texas March 8, 2012

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  • 1. ESA: New Threat to Texasand Need for Reform Texas Water Conservation Association Dallas, Texas March 8, 2012 Robert G. Szabo Van Ness Feldman, P.C.
  • 2. Candidate Species For Listing Under FWS Settlement Agreements 19 2 4 3 1 11 6 2 11 3 3 3 3 2 2 4 RI: 2 4 3 2 3 13 6 10 5 DE: 3 21 5 10 3 DC: 1 5 7 6 MD: 2 14 7 17 23 5 15 5 5 9 6 22 21 5 28 2 KEY (# of proposed species) 69 1-9 40-49 0 500 Miles AK & HI not to scale 50-59 10-19 0 500 KM 20-29 60-69 30-39
  • 3. 21 Texas Candidate Species Austin Blind Salamander (amphibian) 2 2 ! - Additional Portions of Range TBD Diamond Y Spring Snail (snail) 2 2 * Deadline FY 2012 (9/30/2012) Diminutive Amphipod (crustacean) 2 2 2 2 ** Deadline FY 2013 (9/30/2013) Dunes Sagebrush Lizard (reptile) 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 Georgetown Salamander (amphibian) Red River Gonzales Springsnail (snail) 2 2 Guadalupe Fescue (plant) 3 2 3 3 Jollyville Plateau Salamander 3 Brazos 3 2 3 3 3 3 3 River (amphibian) * 3 3 Lesser Prairie-Chicken (bird) 3 Louisiana Pine Snake (reptile) !2 2 Colorado River 2 Neches River Rose-Mallow (plant) 2 2 3 2 2 2 23 Phantom Cave Snail (snail) 3 2 2 2 2 22 Phantom Springsnail (snail) 4 3 3 Salado Salamander (amphibian) 2 Pecos 4 Sharpnose Shiner (fish) ! 2 River Rio Grande Smalleye Shiner (fish) ! 2 4 Sprauge’s Pipit (bird) STATEWIDE Texas Golden Gladecress (plant) Texas Hornshell (mollusk) Warton’s Cave Meshweaver (arachnid) 2 Yellow-Billed Cuckoo [Western U.S. DPS] (bird) ** Rio Grande Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service February, 2012
  • 4.  September 17, 2011: Federal District Court approves settlements between FWS, WildEarth Guardians and Center for Biological Diversity  Over 250 candidate species must be reviewed for final listing as either threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act by 2016  2011 & 2012 FWS Work plan adopted that covers actions on listing, critical habitat petitions and other actions for over 1,000 species  44 species have specific deadlines for FWS decisions  Likely to increase overall amount of species listed by 20% by 2016 PLUS September 26, 2011: FWS announces decision on a listing petition covering 374 species in the Southeast U.S.  Focused on species dependent upon aquatic, riparian and/or wetlands habitat  Region covered includes: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia
  • 5. Scope of the 374 South-East Species Review
  • 6. ImpactWorst Case: Endangered species list could DOUBLE in size by 2020 1973-2011 2011-2016 1,372 species listed as 250+ candidate species to be endangered or threatened considered for listing, plus initial petition findings and critical habitat designations for an additional 1,000 species
  • 7. Problems for Texas New species listings = New take liability More critical habitat designations Higher $$ in compliance measures Regulatory uncertainty Re-initiation of existing biological opinions More litigation Increased risk to resource use activities
  • 8. Texas Needs to Organize Potential avoidance of listings Seek threatened rather than endangered status  Designation of species as “threatened” allows for special 4(d) rule to provide for more flexible implementation of take prohibitions Ensure accurate critical habitat designations
  • 9. National ESA Reform Effort NESARC is renewing its efforts in 2012 to educate policymakers on ESA priorities and concerns and to build support for potential action in the 113th Congress. Congress is paying attention 2013 could be the next real ESA policy improvement opportunity
  • 10. Questions?For More Information: Robert G. Szabo rgs@vnf.com Joseph B. Nelson jbn@vnf.com Jordan A. Smith jas@vnf.comwww.nesarc.org Robert G. Szabo Van Ness Feldman, P.C. March 8, 2012