From The Hill:

The Biden administration on Thursday announced a finalized update to Endangered Species Act (ESA) rules that advocates say reverses some Trump administration rollbacks but fails to fully restore them.

In 2019, the Trump administration made a number of alterations to the ESA rules, including adding language to protection criteria to allow consideration of economic impacts on industry for the listing.

Link to story HERE.

You can view the pre-publication version of the Rule HERE , and the Service’s webpage on the revisions here. The final regulations will go into effect thirty (30) days after their publication in the Federal Register. Notably, these regulations:

  • Revise the definition of “reasonable and prudent measures”  (RPMs) to state they “may include measures implemented inside or outside of the action area that avoid, reduce, or offset the impact of incidental take.”
  • The preamble to the final rule directly mentions banks and ILF programs, stating: “Sources of offsetting measures, such as conservation banks and in-lieu fee programs, have proven in other analogous contexts to be a cost-effective means of mitigating environmental impacts and may have the potential to enhance mitigative measures directed at the loss of endangered and threatened species when they are applied strategically.”
  • In further promising news, the Service indicated in the preamble that they will provide additional guidance in an updated Section 7 Consultation Handbook that would be made available for public comment after publication of the final Section 7 rule.