INSIGHT: New ESA Regulations: Controversial, But How Consequential?

Bloomberg Environment
September 2019

Houston Partner Ben Cowan co-authored an article for Bloomberg Environment discussing the comprehensive revisions to the Endangered Species Act’s (ESA) implementation regulations issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service. Cowan notes that the regulations have received a lot of attention, but they expect their impact in practice to be low.

“While the new rules may narrow the reach and alter the agencies’ implementation of the ESA, the practical impact of those changes on individual energy and infrastructure projects is likely to be minimal. The new rules do not address those aspects of the ESA that have the most direct impact on individual projects—aspects that also serve as a practical barrier to the implementation of meaningful conservation efforts for listed species,” they write.

Cowan goes on to examine the “missed opportunity” of the new rules, which fail to address the federal agencies’ lack of consistency in regulations across different regions and do little to improve regulatory predictability for the business community.

To read the full article, click here. For a version of this article that includes an overview of the content of the new rules, click here.