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Commissioner Buckingham Announces Opposition to Biden Administration’s Proposed Changes to Endangered Species Act

The General Land Office expressed concerns regarding the potential impact on thousands of acres of Texas land, water, and energy resources

AUSTIN— Today, Texas Land Commissioner Dawn Buckingham, M.D. announced the General Land Office (GLO) has submitted comments to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service regarding the potential economic impact of the Biden Administration’s proposed rule changes to the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

“Unfortunately, the Biden Administration is turning the Endangered Species Act into a political tool to push an agenda rather than ensuring true conservation efforts are implemented. This administration is proposing to roll back reasonable improvements made to this law and are simply ignoring the successful accomplishments of private preservationists, state, and local land managers by adding more federal red tape regulations, said Commissioner Buckingham. “I am extremely concerned about the economic impact these rule changes will have on state land, mineral, oil and gas revenues, and I am prepared to seek relief in court to stop the Biden Administration from implementing their proposed regulations.”

The ESA rule changes include:

  1. Eliminating the reasonable consideration of economic impacts – like lost revenue for oil and gas production – when deciding whether a new species warrants ESA protections.
  2. Expanding protections for threatened – but not endangered – species.
  3. Expanding requirements for federal agencies to consult with the wildlife service or the National Marine Fisheries Service before taking actions that could affect threatened or endangered species.

In the letter, Commissioner Buckingham expresses concerns that “these ESA listing determinations can impact thousands of acres of Texas land, water, and energy resources, and significantly affect the lives of landowners, ranchers, and farmers.”

The letter also notes regarding expanding protections for threatened species, “treating threatened species in the same manner as endangered species is further regulatory overreach … School Fund minerals could effectively be ‘condemned in place’ – i.e., left in the ground with no commercially reasonable option or opportunity for the minerals’ production. Such a condemnation in place would constitute a regulatory taking of the School Fund’s mineral estate without compensation, in violation of the United States and Texas Constitutions.”

To read the letter submitted by the GLO, click here.

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