FEATURED:

Bill would allow states to regulate endangered species

States could opt out of the Endangered Species Act's (ESA) regulations under legislation introduced Tuesday in the House and Senate.

The Endangered Species Management Self-Determination Act would reflect a major overhaul of the national system for protecting threatened species and their habitat, and is meant to give state governments more sway over land use decisions.

The measure, which is likely to face major opposition from congressional Democrats and the White House, was introduced by Sens. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulDem wins Kentucky state House seat in district Trump won by 49 points GOP's tax reform bait-and-switch will widen inequality Pentagon budget euphoria could be short-lived MORE (R-Ky.) and Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerThe siren of Baton Rouge Big Republican missteps needed for Democrats to win in November What to watch for in the Senate immigration votes MORE (R-Nev.), along with Rep Mark AmodeiMark Eugene AmodeiInterior agency delayed tribal casino approval after competitor’s lobbying: report DACA advocates see efforts gaining steam in the House Overnight Finance: House passes .2T funding package for 2018 | FTC launches Equifax probe | Mnuchin defends honeymoon jet request | MORE (R-Nev.).

“By removing the red tape, state governments will be better equipped to manage, regulate, develop and implement recovery plans for their critical habitats,” Paul said in a statement issued by the lawmakers.

In a letter soliciting co-sponsors from among the ranks of his fellow House members, Amodei said more than 2,000 species have been regulated under the (ESA) since the landmark law was passed 40 years ago.

As a result, millions of acres of land has been set aside as critical habitat. Yet less than one percent of the species are ever removed from the list, he argued.

“Bureaucrats in Washington should not be able to lock-up millions of acres of land and devastate entire local economies simply to avoid lawsuits from environmental organizations,” Amodei wrote. “Local governments should determine how best to manage their lands and have the ability to choose recovery plans that work for their state.”

Beyond the state opt-out allowance, the legislation would require approval of a joint congressional resolution for any new species to be added to the federal endangered species, and all added species would be automatically delisted after give years.

Further, the bill would entitle any private property owner to compensation totaling 150 percent of fair market value if the federal statute diminishes the value of their land by 50 percent or more.