Federal Bill Introduced to Loosen The Grip of the Federal Endangered Species Act
On June 15, 2021, United States Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) reintroduced the Native Species Protection Act (“Bill”). The bill is cosponsored by United States Senators Rand Paul (R-KY), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), and Ted Cruz (R-TX). The Bill provides that non-commercial species (i.e., a species not part of a national market for any commodity) found entirely within the borders of a single state are not interstate commerce or subject to regulation under the federal Endangered Species Act or any other federal law enacted as an exercise of Congressional power to regulate interstate commerce. In a press release issued by Senator Lee’s office, Senator Lee is quoted as stating, “The Native Species Protection Act is a commonsense reform that would limit the damage caused by federal mismanagement of protected species and their habitats, while empowering state and local officials to pursue sensible conservation plans within their communities.”
Notably, this Bill has been previously introduced by Senator Lee three separate occasions – on April 30, 2015, as Senate Bill 1142; on September 26, 2017, as Senate Bill 1863; and on June 10, 2019, as Senate Bill 1768. All three of the previously introduced versions of the Bill were referred to the Committee on Environmental and Public Works, but were never voted on.