ESA Bill Amendment Proposal to Require Public Availability of Science and Litigation Costs

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Summary of the Bill

H.R. 3608 amends the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA) to require public availability on the Internet of the best scientific and commercial data available, which is the basis of each decision to list a species for protection under the ESA. It requires the federal government to disclose scientific information used in making listing or critical habitat decisions to States, tribes, and local governments and ensures the inclusion of data submitted by those governments as part of the best available scientific and commercial data.

Further, this bill requires U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to report funds expended by the federal government in response to ESA litigation, full time employees tasked with ESA litigation, and attorneys’ fees associated with ESA litigation and settlements. This annual report will be submitted to the House Natural Resources Committee and Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Lastly, to protect taxpayer dollars, this bill caps the attorney fees for ESA litigation and settlements at $125 per hour, consistent with the Equal Access to Justice Act.<<<Please read the ENTIRE proposal below>>>