Yesterday, the Investor’s Business Daily published my op-ed on the Trump administration’s opportunity to reform implementation of the Endangered Species Act to better align private incentives with species conservation. That article begins:
President Trump campaigned on a promise to repeal 70% of federal regulations, eliminating red tape to promote job growth and economic development. Any regulatory reform effort should initially focus on the low-hanging fruit — those regulations which are needlessly costly and counterproductive.
One of those low-hanging fruit is the illegal and counterproductive regulation that treats critically endangered and less vulnerable “threatened” species the same.
The groundwork has already been laid for the Trump administration to reduce the Endangered Species Act’s unnecessary burdens. Last year, Pacific Legal Foundation, representing the National Federation of Independent Business and Washington Cattlemen’s Association, petitioned to repeal a federal regulation that illegally extends the statute’s broad take prohibition to “threatened” species — those facing the least threat.
Repealing this regulation would advance the new President’s stated goal of reducing regulation and promoting job growth. But it would also benefit endangered species.
Businesses and property owners are not the only ones who would benefit from repealing this regulation. Endangered and threatened species will also benefit. This regulation is counterproductive. By treating species the same, regardless of the seriousness of their threats, it undermines incentives for conservation. Repealing it would encourage conservation through the promise that successful efforts to recover endangered species would be rewarded with the lifting of burdensome regulations.