By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Wednesday, July 30, Congressman Bradley Byrne (R) voted in support of H.R. 4315, the Endangered Species Transparency and Reasonableness Act. The legislation is the first attempt in 26 years to renew and reform the Endangered Species Act, which was created in 1973 to protect and recover key domestic species.
Representative Byrne’s office said that over the years, the Endangered Species Act has resulted in excessive litigation without any real successes. Rep. Byrne warned that in 2011, the Obama administration held closed-door negotiations on the Endangered Species Act which could lead to more than 750 new endangered species throughout the United States. Alabama would be hit especially hard with 22 new proposed species, one of the largest increases in the country.
The Endangered Species Transparency and Reasonableness Act would require data used in endangered species decisions to be made publicly available and promote accountability in the scientific data. H.R. 4315 also prioritizes species protection to protect taxpayer dollars by placing caps on attorneys’ fees.
Congressman Byrne said: “This commonsense, bipartisan bill represents a much needed update to a law that is profoundly outdated. The Obama administration held closed door negotiations in 2011, and now Alabama would be saddled with over 20 new endangered species without any accountability or input from Congress. The lack of transparency so far in the process is really alarming. The declaration of endangered species is a critical decision that could have massive economic and ecological impacts. This bill would bring further negotiations on the Endangered Species Act into the spotlight for all Americans to see and allow Congress to fulfill its oversight function.”
Byrne said that he is worried about the economic and ecological impact of the new species additions.
The House passed the legislation by a vote of 233 to 190. This legislation now moves on to the Democrat controlled U.S. Senate where Republican bills are rarely even getting to the floor for consideration.
Congressman Bradley Byrne represents Alabama’s First Congressional District.