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Congressman Bentz Introduces Bill to Restore Trump-Era Rule Defining Habitat for Endangered Species

October 26, 2021

Today, Congressman Cliff Bentz introduced H.R. 5708, a bill that would curtail the use of habitat designations under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) for areas not inhabited by an endangered species. Congressman Bentz's legislation is aimed at stopping the Biden Administration's announced plan to begin rolling back several critical Trump-era reforms of the ESA.

In a statement, Bentz said: In the Biden Administration’s latest effort to reverse every accomplishment of the Trump Administration, the U.S. Department of Interior has rescinded the December of 2020 science-based definition of habitat. This change will have far-reaching and potentially disastrous implications for rural communities, federal forests, and wildlife. Sadly, President Biden has made it clear that his administration’s policies are focused on fulfilling the agenda of far-left environmental radicals instead of conserving our natural resources and working with rural communities where many Americans have lived and protected the land for generations. That is why I introduced H.R. 5708, a bill to codify the Trump Administration’s definition of habitat, which is scientifically based and meets the needs of both our environment and the people living within it. My bill will help to begin restoring balance to species management policies that lock up federal lands from human activity – including those activities which will help clean up, conserve, and restore natural habitats.

Background:

Between 2019 and 2020, the Trump administration introduced five significant Endangered Species Act regulations. Congressman Bentz's bill, introduced today, would codify the Trump Administration's definition of habitat, giving it the force and effect of law.

The Definition of Habitat (2020): This regulation stems from a Supreme Court decision and provides a clear definition of "habitat" under the ESA. The definition states habitat is "the abiotic and biotic setting that currently or periodically contains the resources and conditions necessary to support one or more life processes of a species."