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Illegal Federal Endangered Species Regulation Actually Harms Endangered Species

Last week, the Washington Cattlemen’s Association, with the support of the Pacific Legal Foundation, submitted a petition to the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) challenging a regulation from that agency which rewrote the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Instead of reserving the most stringent restrictions for species most at risk of extinction like Congress intended when they passed the law, this FWS regulation imposes the most stringent restrictions on lesser threatened species. Besides being illegal, this regulation is counterproductive. By imposing draconian restrictions on all ESA species, the FWS actually removes any incentive for landowners to conserve species. A regulation that is not authorized by law and actually contradicts the goals of the law authorizing it? That’s logic only a regulator can understand.