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2014-07-31

Cornyn seeks transparency for endangered species listings

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Senator John Cornyn


United States Senator John Cornyn recently introduced legislation that would dramatically boost transparency of the Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service's listing process for endangered species.
Cornyn's legislation stands as the Senate companion to HR 4315, introduced by US Rep. Doc Hastings, chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee. The legislation would require the Secretaries of the Interior and Commerce departments to make the best scientific and commercial data publicly available on the Internet as it relates to future listings and de-listings under the Endangered Species Act.
"In Texas, we've seen firsthand what happens when the Administration overreaches and lists species as endangered or threatened without giving due consideration to the facts and input from those on the ground, Cornyn said. "Imprudent and unnecessary listings are a drain on local economies and an impediment to growth and job creation."
According to Cornyn, to increase transparency, his bill would ensure that Texans and citizens across the country have full access to same data these agencies use to determine their listings. Currently more than 700 species are under review for listing.
Cornyn's legislation would:
• Amend Section 4(b) of the Endangered Species Act to require the Interior and Commerce Secretaries to make the best scientific and commercial data publicly available on the Internet as it relates to future listings and de-listings under the Endangered Species Act.
• Protect personal information, such as landowner information. The bill prohibits the Secretary from making information available where the State has determined public disclosure is prohibited by a law of that State to protect personal information.