The Endangered Species Act: The High Court, the Services, and Congress All in Play!

By: David C. Smith
– California Land Use Law & Policy Reporter

All three branches of the federal government—judicial, executive, and legislative—are actively considering major aspects of the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA or Act). Some decisions and resulting changes are certain; others are probably, based on history, unlikely to be enacted. But with the statute not having been amended or revised since 1988 and no meaningful regulatory reform having occurred since 1986, some argue that updates to what many consider the nation’s most powerful environmental regulatory regime [are] long overdue. Currently pending are: 1) a major case at the Supreme Court regarding the Act’s provision for protection of purported “habitat” on private land that is not presently occupied by the protected species nor could it be absent significant intervention and human alteration; 2) broad-sweeping and comprehensive proposed regulatory reforms; and 3) significant proposed amendments to the Act itself in both chambers of Congress.

Excerpted with License from the Sept. issue of the California Land Use Law & Policy Reporter, Copyright © 2018, Argent Communications Group [ACG].  All rights reserved. Any further copying or dissemination requires additional License from ACG: 530-852-7222 or

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