No action needed at this time.
The agencies' comment period for this proposed rule closed on September 18, 2015. Thank you for your interest in helping endangered and threatened species and for letting the agencies know this issue is important.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) have proposed two very dangerous changes to the regulations that govern petitions to list species as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Both of these changes would severely limit the ability of private citizens and organizations to get an imperiled species listed and protected under the ESA.
The first proposed change would require that any individual or organization petitioning to have a species listed must first provide notice of the petition to all states inhabited by the species and attach all information to the petition that these states may subsequently request. It also requires the states' certification that this requirement has been met before a petition can be filed. If this is not obtained, the petition would be summarily rejected. This requirement that the states sign off on the petition gives them a virtual veto power over the petitions—despite the fact that many species are in trouble (and in need of federal protection under the ESA) precisely because the relevant states have failed to take action and, in fact, are often openly hostile to any regulatory measures to protect these species.
The second proposed change is to bar petitions that propose to list more than one species at a time—even if those species occupy the same area and face similar threats. This would needlessly multiply the work that citizens and organizations must do in order to protect these species, and would even increase the workload for the USFWS and NMFS themselves, as every time a separate petition is submitted, they must initiate an extensive internal process to evaluate the merits of the petition.
If these proposed changes are implemented, it would be much more difficult for imperiled species to get the protection they need, and would thereby limit the power of the ESA to save these species from extinction.
What You Can Do:
Please tell the USFWS and NMFS to reject the proposed rule that would ban multi-species petitions and would require petitioners to engage in a burdensome process with state agencies prior to submitting a listing petition. The deadline to submit your comments is September 18, 2015.
You can submit your comments through AWI's Compassion Index by clicking here, where you will find language to include in your letter.
Please be sure to share our "Dear Humanitarian" eAlert with family, friends and co-workers, and encourage them to write, too.
As always, thank you very much for your help!