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Regulatory Reform Overview

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Marine Fisheries Service (the Services) are working collaboratively to improve the implementation of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by considering appropriate changes to our practices, guidance, policies, or regulations to enhance conservation of listed species. The objective of this effort is to ensure that key operational aspects of the ESA are up-to-date, clear, efficient and effective. We are not seeking any changes to the ESA statute because we believe that implementation can be significantly improved through rulemaking and policy formulation.

The federally endangered El Segundo blue butterfly  is found only along coastal dune habitat on the southeaster shores of California's Santa Monica bay. Credit: Eric Porter/USFWS
 

The federally endangered El Segundo blue butterfly is found only along coastal dune habitat on the southeaster shores of California's Santa Monica bay.
Eric Porter/USFWS

To improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the ESA in conserving endangered and threatened species, the Services have identified areas where changes in ESA implementing regulations and policies may reduce burdens, redundancy, and conflict, and at the same time promote predictability, certainty, and innovation. This effort is guided by the following objectives, which conform with the principles espoused in President Obama's Executive Order 13563, "Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review" 

  • improving the effectiveness of the ESA to conserve imperiled species;
  • Making administrative procedures as efficient as possible;
  • improving the clarity and consistency of our regulations through, among other things, the use of plain language and by providing more precise definitions of many of our key terms;
  • encouraging more effective conservation partnerships with other federal agencies, the states, tribes, conservation organizations, and private landowners;
  • encouraging innovation and cooperation in the implementation of the ESA; and
  • reducing the frequency and intensity of conflicts when possible.

The Services are open and transparent in our collaborative efforts to improve ESA implementation through ESA regulatory reform and meet the goals of promoting public participation, improving integration and innovation, increasing flexibility where possible, ensuring scientific integrity, and increasing our analysis of existing rules as set forth in Executive Order 13563. 

For all the details, download the Regulatory Reform fact sheet  

View the Department of the Interior Preliminary Plan for Retrospective Regulatory Review  

 

Last updated: March 26, 2015