Congressman Doc Hastings

Serving Central Washington

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Hastings Statement on the Final Listing of Two Hanford Reach Plants

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Washington, Dec 19, 2013 | Neal Kirby (202-225-5816) | comments

Congressman Doc Hastings released the following statement on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s final rule to list two plants, the Umtanum desert buckwheat and the White Bluffs bladderpod, as endangered, and designating over 2,700 acres of federally owned land in Franklin and Benton Counties as critical habitat:

“While it’s encouraging that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has backtracked and now will not designate 419 acres of private property in Franklin County as critical habitat for these sub-species of plants, I have serious concerns about how the Service’s underlying decision to list the plants as endangered was reached,” said Hastings, who chairs the House Natural Resources Committee with jurisdiction over the Endangered Species Act (ESA). “The Service agreed, behind closed doors, to a deadline with litigious groups to list the bladderpod this year as part of its ‘mega-settlement’ of numerous lawsuits and it’s clear that nothing—not even new, contradictory independent science—was going to stop them. The fact that the Service was provided with scientific DNA evidence that showed a 100 percent match with bladderpod plants found abundantly in multiple states, and still went forward with listing these plants as endangered, raises serious questions about the Service’s implementation of the Endangered Species Act and confirms that bladderpod recovery will be subject to litigation rather than common sense and use of best available science. Today’s decision is a concrete example of how the 40-year-old Endangered Species Act is in need of reform. I will insist on an explanation and transparency relating to the Service’s decision on the bladderpod, and as Chairman of the Natural Resources Committee, I look forward to considering common sense reforms to the ESA in the months ahead.”

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