AGC members report struggles with Endangered Species Act (ESA) requirements that delay infrastructure projects and significantly increase costs while not necessarily providing commensurate species and habitat benefits. At the request of Congress, AGC has identified legislative and administrative improvements to the ESA that support: the protection of listed species; responsible land and resource management; and streamlined delivery of critical infrastructure projects.
AGC’s May 23 response to the House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee flags construction specific concerns and offers possible ESA reforms related to:
- species listing or delisting;
- critical habitat designation;
- timing, length and application of the Section 7 “consultation” process; and
- compensatory mitigation practices and policies.
Additionally, AGC explained how the current interplay between the ESA and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is forcing excessive paperwork, duplicate consultation procedures and reviews, and inefficient project planning and construction phasing (due to, in the case of ESA, time-of-year restrictions relating to tree and bush clearing and species surveys). AGC suggested improvements to current law that would reduce the frequency of NEPA document/decision re-evaluations and related ESA re-analysis.
AGC’s letter concludes by calling on Congress to reform the citizen suit provisions in 20 environmental statutes that are being used to challenge all types of projects, land restrictions and permit requirements relating to projects.
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