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John Cornyn Introduces Endangered Species Act Settlement Reform Act

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Texas U.S. Senator John Cornyn has introduced legislation to prevent abuse of Endangered Species Act litigation.

Cornyn introduced the Endangered Species Act Settlement Reform Act, which will give impacted local parties a say in the settlement of litigation between special interest groups and the Fish and Wildlife Service.

“ESA litigation abuse has shut out those folks most affected by the kind of closed-door settlements we’ve seen,” said Cornyn. “My bill opens up the process to give job creators and local officials a say.”

Cornyn says that the bill adds protection for American citizens from the regulatory impact of closed-door litigation settlements between special interest groups and the Fish and Wildlife Service.

In 2011, two environmental groups settled multi-district litigation with the FWS that resulted in a “work plan” for the agency to make endangered species list determinations for hundreds of species, and the settlement also required taxpayers to pay the plaintiffs’ litigation fees.

The suits were brought against the FWS because it failed to meet certain statutory deadlines after being flooded with requests to list hundreds of species.

Cornyn’s office says that Closed-Door ESA settlements not only threaten unwarranted regulation, but give plaintiffs undue leverage over local land owners, businesses, and elected officials in the conservation process.

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