Policy Update Oct 25, 2023

Position on H.R. 5504

NPCA submitted the following position to members of the House Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Wildlife and Fisheries ahead of a hearing scheduled for October 25, 2023.

H.R.5504 - To require the Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the Assistant Administrator for Fisheries of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to withdraw proposed rules relating to the Endangered Species Act of 1973: NPCA opposes this legislation which would undermine an ongoing public process for three proposed Endangered Species Act (ESA) regulations. National parks play an important role in the survival and recovery of approximately a third of all ESA-listed species. More than 600 listed species depend on habitat within national parks from Shenandoah to Big Bend to Glacier Bay. Ensuring the full suite of species are present in national parks is vital not only to the ecological integrity of parks and park landscapes but is paramount to the park visitor experience. As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of this bedrock environmental law, we must make sure it remains an effective tool to combat the current biodiversity crisis and ensure national park wildlife thrive for future generations.

The three proposed rules address some of the problematic changes that occurred to these regulations in 2019 and are an important step towards improving implementation of the ESA. For example, the draft regulations propose the return of default protections for threatened species within Fish and Wildlife Service jurisdiction under section 4(d) of the ESA. Many national park species are making progress on their path to recovery, but they can only be successfully recovered with stronger regulations for implementing the ESA. It is the duty of the federal government and its mandate under the ESA to protect America’s most vulnerable plants and animals, both inside and outside of national park boundaries.