by Eric T. Freyfogle
In late summer, 2019, the Departments of the Interior and Commerce announced three sets of changes to their regulations implementing the federal endangered species act (the ESA). Finally published on August 27, the changes are set to take effect on September 26, 2019. All but one of the changes apply to both agencies charged with implementing the ESA, the Fish and Wildlife Service (within DOI) and the National Marine Fisheries Service, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (within DOC).
The memo linked below summarizes these regulatory changes and comments on their importance. While the explanations and comments there stand alone, they make most sense when read along with chapters 12 and 13 of the of the Wildlife Law: A Primer (2nd ed.,), which explain the ESA in full. Users of the book are encouraged to keep copies of this memo to read in conjunction with the book. Most of the 2019 regulatory changes were issued in draft form in 2018 and were taken into account in the preparation of the second edition. Nearly all were adopted in final form in 2019 without significant change. Wildlife Law as published thus draws upon most of the new regulations. The comments here mostly reiterate and expand upon material in the published book, without revising it. The sole exceptions have to do with procedural changes to the interagency consultation process.
For the complete memo, click here.
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Eric T. Freyfogle is Research Professor and Swanlund Chair, Emeritus, at the University of Illinois College of Law. Todd A. Wildermuth is Director of the Environmental Law Program at the University of Washington School of Law.