The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries (the Services) are amending regulations pertaining to the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in an attempt to streamline and clarify various key implementing provisions of this long-standing and powerful Act. The three proposed regulation changes, intended to be part of a comprehensive update to help improve the efficiency and consistency of implementing the ESA, were published today in the Federal Register – opening up a 60 day comment period. The Services are accepting public comment on the proposed rule changes through September 24, 2018.
The proposed changes address key provisions of the ESA, including:
- Streamlining the definition of destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat;
- Modifying how the effects of an action are addressed in a consultation;
- Changing the timing and nature of certain types of consultations;
- Amending provisions regarding listing and delisting of species; and
- Revising regulations pertaining to threatened species.
Revisions to ESA are infrequent. According to the Services, there have been no comprehensive amendments to the Act since 1988, and no comprehensive revisions to the implementing regulations since 1986. Any business or property owner in Florida whose business or development plans may require consultation with the Services, should take note of these changes to determine the effect on their business.
If you are interested in learning more about these proposed rules, please contact Luna Phillips, Gunster’s environmental law practice group leader, who works regularly with the Services on endangered species act issues.
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This publication is for general information only. It is not legal advice, and legal counsel should be contacted before any action is taken that might be influenced by this publication.
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