By Nick Goldstein, vice president of regulatory and legal issues, ARTBA

ARTBA supports the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) proposal to reform critical habitat provisions in the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The regulations are significant because they designate specific areas where development can be restricted if a species is threatened. Recent critical habitat designation proposals for the long-eared bat and the rusty patched bumble bee have jeopardized transportation projects in multiple states. In Illinois, for example, confusion over the bee’s habitat resulted in litigation temporarily stopping the $115 million Longmeadow Parkway Bridge Corridor.

ARTBA cited both the bat and bee examples in Sept. 4 comments to FWS urging the agency to define critical habitat “in a manner which achieves both species protection and an efficient regulatory structure.” ARTBA will continue to monitor the issue and alert our members when a final rule is published.

(PHOTO: Long-eared bat.)