NESARC Files Comments on Proposed Changes to FWS Mitigation Policy13 June 2016
(WASHINGTON, DC) – The National Endagnered Species Act Reform Coalition today filed comments with the U.S. Fish and Widlife Service expressing concerns with proposed changes to its Mitigation Policy. The Policy has guided the FWS’ recommendations on mitigating the adverse impacts of land and water developments on fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats since 1981.
As is reflected in today’s filing, NESARC is concerned that the Mitigation Policy assumes a level of FWS authority that is inconsistent with the organic statutes which bind and direct the agency. NESARC’s comments call upon FWS to clarify and harmonize the interplay between the authorizations given to FWS under a particular statute and the application of this Mitigation Policy before any implementation,
According to the comments:
“NESARC is particularly concerned with FWS’s proposal to abandon present policies and apply this Mitigation Policy to actions undertaken pursuant to the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”). The ESA establishes specific standards and requirements for the scope and nature of any avoidance, minimization and mitigation measures that may be imposed by FWS. Further, the ESA requires specific analysis and evaluation of impacts to listed species and designated critical habitat. These statutory requirements cannot be overridden or undermined by the application of a general FWS Mitigation Policy.”