U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland, II was appointed today by House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-WA) to serve on a newly-created Endangered Species Act (ESA) working group. The 13-member working group will hold a series of events, forums and hearings throughout the year to improve the effectiveness of the species protection law.
"Protecting endangered species and promoting jobs and economic growth need not be mutually exclusive," Southerland said. "Through collaboration, I believe we can produce a more effective Endangered Species Act. That's why I'm pleased to be part of a working group that is welcoming the input and real life perspectives of a diverse range of stakeholders, including not just animal protection advocates and conservation groups, but also the communities, small businesses, and coastal, agricultural and forestry interests that are impacted by the ESA."
The Obama administration will be making listing decisions on nearly 800 species by 2016, including 160 this year. According to the House Committee on Natural Resources, hundreds of ESA lawsuits have been filed over the past five years, taking time and resources away from legitimate species recovery efforts.