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ESA Language Included in Draft House Interior Appropriations Bill

Posted Date: 
July 07, 2011
Jordan A. Smith, NESARC/ Van Ness Feldman

On Wednesday, the House Appropriations Committee released the fiscal year 2012 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill, which will be considered in subcommittee later today.  The draft includes language restricting ESA funding related to implementation of certain listing and critical habitat designation activities.  The operative language is included on page 8 of the bill (link below) and states:

Provided, That none of the funds shall be used for implementing subsections (a), (b), (c), and (e) of section 4 of the Endangered Species Act, (except for processing petitions, developing and issuing proposed and final regulations, and taking any other steps to implement actions described in subsection (c)(2)(A), (c)(2)(B)(i), or (c)(2)(B)(ii) of such section):

Generally, this establishes a moratorium on use of FY2012 funds for most listing and critical habitat determinations under Section 4 of the Act.  Otherwise, the bill provides for a general appropriation to FWS for all functions covering "...general administration and performance of authorized functions". 

The prohibition of ESA expenditures covers:  (1) listing of species and designation of critical habitat (Sections 4(a) & (b); (2) general  status review activities for previously designated threatened, endangered and candidate species (Section 4(c); and (3) designation of species for similarity of appearances (Section 4(e)).  The only exceptions would be that funding would be allowed for status reviews, petitions, proposed and final rules and other actions regarding "downlisting" (from endangered to threatened) or delisting species.

In a separate section 119 of the bill, language has been included that would remove from judicial review de-listing decisions regarding gray wolves.

While the language is expected to garner the votes necessary to move through the House, we expect opposition from Senate lawmakers as well as the President.  We will continue to update you on the status of this language as the process moves forward.

The draft bill is available at

A summary table may be found at

Please contact us with any questions.

Jordan A. Smith | 202-298-1914 |