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Biden official gives thumbs-down to Republican ESA package

By Michael Doyle | 07/10/2024 06:16 AM EDT

Lawmakers on Tuesday debated ideas both new and old for updating the Endangered Species Act.

Reps. Cliff Bentz (R-Ore.) and Jared Huffman (D-Calif.).

House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Wildlife and Fisheries Chair Cliff Bentz (R-Ore.) and ranking member Jared Huffman (D-Calif.). They held a hearing Tuesday on Endangered Species Act legislation. Francis Chung/POLITICO

House lawmakers batted around a new Endangered Species Act proposal Tuesday, scoring points but leaving future teamwork unlikely. And a top Biden administration official panned the effort, saying it would make existing problems worse.

Crafted by a Republican-dominated House Natural Resources Committee working group, the 38-page ESA “” includes fresh as well as familiar ideas that triggered sharp back-and-forths in a hearing in the Water, Wildlife and Fisheries Subcommittee.

“The bill would make important and necessary reforms to the Endangered Species Act, something that is important to all of us, including my constituents in Oregon, who live each day with the consequences and harsh reality of the application of ESA policies,” said panel Chair Cliff Bentz (R-Ore.).

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The by Natural Resources Chair Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.), who stressed Tuesday that he supports the idea of the ESA but also insisted that it’s “past time” to update the 1973 law.

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