U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) introduced an amendment today to reduce funding for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's (FWS) listing activities for species in two recent settlements with environmental groups, including the Central Texas Salamanders and Lesser Prairie Chicken. His proposal, introduced as an amendment to the first Senate budget in nearly four years, would cut funding available for listing determinations for species that are based on arbitrary decision deadlines, reached in closed-door settlements of litigation under the Endangered Species Act:
"Just as they hastily tried to list the sand dune lizard in West Texas, the Administration is again trying to put the cart before the horse. My amendment will block Washington bureaucrats from rashly listing species as endangered based on limited data, sparing Texas families, landowners and businesses from the harmful economic consequences."
Sen. Cornyn previously sent a letter to FWS Director Daniel Ashe requesting a 60-day extension of the comment solicitation period and a six-month extension of any final decisions on their proposal to list the Lesser Prairie Chicken as a threatened species. FWS subsequently granted that extension. Sen. Cornyn has also introduced the Endangered Species Act (ESA) Settlement Reform Act, which will give impacted local parties a say in the settlement of ESA litigation between special interest groups and the FWS.