Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

New endangered act in Senate

Staff writer

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Roosevelt County commissioners will be voting today whether to support the 21st Century Endangered Species Transparency Act when they meet in special session at the Roosevelt County Courthouse conference room.

The act has passed through the U.S. House of Representatives and waits consideration by the Senate.

If passed, it will amend the Endangered Species Act, which has not been amended since 1988.

Kendell Buzard, the commission chair, is a supporter of amending ESA.

“It will bring more balance to the ESA, having less of the load on the landowners that it effects,” Buzard said.

One of the amendments in the act includes requiring data used by federal agencies for ESA listing decision to be public and accessible through the Internet. This means when a listing is made the data the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services used will be accessible to the public.

Another amendment will have the federal government make affected states data used prior to an ESA listing decision available to the public.

Also it would require the “best available scientific and commercial data” used by the federal government to be incorporated into the data provided by states, tribes, and local county governments.

ESA does not use data provided by states and county governments, Buzard said.

That was one problem commissioners had when the lesser prairie chicken was listed as a threatened species.

Buzard said it will make the act more user friendly and up-to-date.

“It's a long way from fixing the problems with ESA, but it’s a step toward the right direction,” Buzard said.