ARTBA October 9 urged the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) not to move forward with regulations that would expand the definition of “critical habitat” under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). “Critical habitat” is an environment that is necessary for an endangered or threatened species to subsist. A determination of “critical habitat” can literally remove hundreds of miles from the possibility of any type of development. In the transportation arena, this is especially relevant as states promulgate transportation plans years, if not decades, in advance. Instead of expanding the definition of “critical habitat”, ARTBA urged FWS to consider economic implications when making such determinations. ARTBA also expressed support for regulatory flexibility, encouraging FWS and state agencies to work together to develop conservation plans in the early stages of the transportation project review and approval process, to prevent unexpected ESA issues from arising later in the process. Read ARTBA’s comments.
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