20 States Sue Government Over Final Endangered Species Rules02/14/2017
Twenty states, including Missouri, Michigan, Nebraska and Wisconsin, are suing the federal government over Obama administration final rules on endangered species that expand the definition of “critical habitat.” Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley says federal law considers critical habitat where endangered species currently live, not where they might live.
He says, “Federal law says you can only designate as critical habitat land where endangered species actually already live and federal law also says that the states have the primary responsibility to manage wildlife, to manage water resources, to manage forestry.”
Hawley says the new definition of “critical habitat” would dramatically increase federal authority over farm and ranch land, “They merely have to say that, well, maybe in the future some species MIGHT live on the land. And, the thing is, once you designate a piece of land as critical habitat there are all sorts of restrictions on use of the land, development of the land.”
Hawley says 14 other states, not including Missouri, have asked the Trump administration to repeal the rules. Environmentalists say the regulations will help protect endangered species.