Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), announced that he was inviting Wyoming Governor Matt Mead to testify before the committee on modernizing the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Mead is scheduled to testify on July 17, 2018 on the discussion draft of the Endangered Species Act Amendments of 2018 that was released by Barrasso to strengthen the ESA.
“Governor Mead has been a leader on the Endangered Species Act. He has worked with governors from across the West – both Republicans and Democrats – to put forward needed changes to the law,” said Barrasso. “The bipartisan Western Governors’ Association has made recommendations on how the ESA can be improved. The law needs to work better for species and for people. Wyoming is leading the way when it comes to species conservation. I look forward to Governor Mead’s testimony and working with him to modernize and strengthen the Endangered Species Act.”
On July 2, 2018, Barrasso released the Endangered Species Act Amendments of 2018 discussion draft. The discussion draft reauthorizes the ESA for the first time since 1992. The discussion draft emphasizes elevating the role of states and increasing transparency in the implementation of the ESA. It also prioritizes resources to better meet its conservation goals and provides regulatory certainty to promote conservation and recovery activities. The draft legislation has received broad support from stakeholders, state and local governments, and conservation organizations.
Barrasso has worked with the Western Governors’ Association (WGA) in drafting the legislation. The bipartisan WGA has stated that the chairman’s discussion draft legislation is generally consistent with the WGA recommendations for modernizing the ESA and includes provisions inspired by the association’s Species Conservation and Endangered Species Act Initiative, led by Governor Mead. In a letter from the WGA, the association wrote of the draft bill:
“The Western Governors’ Association appreciates the Chairman’s willingness to productively engage with Governors, and that the Chairman has approached this polarizing topic in an inclusive, thoughtful manner. The proposed bill reflects this fact and offers meaningful, bipartisan solutions to challenging species conservation issues.”