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 House Resource  Committee PRESS RELEASE 9/29/05

Protect the Improvements to the ESA Made by H.R. 3824

Vote NO on the Miller/Boehlert Substitute to H.R. 3824


  1. Miller/Boehlert won't give private property owners an honest answer.  Under Miller/Boehlert private property owners can't get a straight answer whether use of their property would violate the ESA.  All property owners can find out is if they need to be in a Habitat Conservation Plan.

    Under H.R. 3824, private property owners can request a written determination from the Secretary whether use of their property would violate the ESA and get a straight "yes" or "no" answer.
  2. Miller/Boehlert sticks private property owners with the bill. When a farmer loses land for a highway he's compensated, but if he can't use part of his farm because of the ESA he's left to bear the burden alone.  Miller/Boehlert does nothing to protect the small property owners from losing the value of their property.

    Under H.R. 3824 when a private property owner gets a written determination that using his property would violate the law, the property owner becomes eligible for compensation for the fair market value that he's lost. And the Congressional Budget Office has scored this at "likely less than $10 million" over the next five years.
  3. Miller/Boehlert replaces dysfunctional critical habitat with something worse: lands "necessary for recovery."  Miller/Boehlert allows a "recovery team" to designate any private and publicly owned land and water "necessary" to recover species.  While "publicly owned" land would be the first target, this definition allows inclusion of any and all land.  In any consultation under the ESA the Secretary has to consider the effects of an action on this land and do so under the stifling Miller/Boehlert jeopardy definition.

    H.R. 3824 eliminates the critical habitat provisions that Republican and Democratic Administrations and the Secretary of Interior have said provides little value for conservation, wastes money and cause conflict.


  1. Miller/Boehlert removes critical incentives programs. Miller/Boehlert offers only a single "voluntary" program for landowners. At best it offers 70% of the costs for a private  property owner to implement a "management plan." No matter what the terms, a property owner can't break even. Miller/Boehlert does not offer any of H.R. 3824's incentive programs.
    H.R. 3824 creates several new tools - contracts, agreements and grants - to provide incentives for conserving endangered species.
  2. Miller/Boehlert creates a strangling new standard for jeopardy.  Miller/Boehlert would redefine jeopardy from a review of the impacts on the species and the ability to conserve that species to a test whether an agency act increases risks, results in delays or increases costs of conservation efforts.

    HR: 3824 keeps the jeopardy bar where it is, not introducing more litigation and conflict.
  3. Miller/Boehlert abandons science based decision-making by enshrining process over substance.  Miller/Boehlert doesn't require determinations as to what data meets the standard for best available scientific data, doesn't apply existing federal guidance on data quality and will not ensure the gathering of empirical data or the use of peer review when data is insufficient.

    H.R. 3824 requires guidelines that comply with federal data quality standards and requires the Secretary to take steps to correct insufficient data, like gathering new empirical data and conducting peer reviews.


  1. Miller/Boehlert fails to make necessary improvements to the ESA consultation process. ESA consultations are rife with uncertainty given unpredictable interpretations of the scope of actions to be reviewed and the mitigation necessary.  Miller/Boehlert does nothing to significantly improve this situation.

    HR 3824 will clarify the environmental baseline to be reviewed as part of the consultation process, require that mitigation be roughly proportional to the identified impacts and grant additional flexibility to identify alternative (but equally protective) consultation procedures.  Miller/Boehlert removes those critical improvements, leaving us with the flawed ESA consultation process that exists today.
  2. Miller/Boehlert keeps old and adds new bureaucracies Miller/Boehlert keeps the cumbersome, expensive and rarely used "God squad" and adds another bureaucratic scientific panel all paid at the top of the government scale.

    HR 3824 eliminates the "God Squad" and doesn't add new bureaucracies.



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