Hearing Topic 1: Resources

Introductory Reading

Presidential Memorandum on The Endangered Species Act
March 3, 2009
President Obama announces that a change made to rules regarding the implementation of the Endangered Species Act is under review.
Consultations with Federal Agencies: Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act
Flyer from FWS
This document is a brief overview and how-to of the consultation process.
The Endangered Species Act in the 111th Congress: Conflicting Values and Difficult Choices, Congressional Research Service (CRS) report
February 25, 2009

Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports are always good resources to check out when you need information about a policy topic. This report gives a thorough introduction to the entire act and some of the issues associated with it. Sections to read include:

• Summary, introduction, background, analysis, and “Permits and Consultation”
• “Revised Regulations for Consultation” and “Endangered Species and Climate Change” in the section titled “Issues before the 111th Congress”.

Endangered Species Consultation Handbook: Procedures for Conducting Consultation and Conference Activities Under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act
from FWS and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)
The Section 7 Consultation Handbook explains some of the more practical and fine points of how consultations are actually conducted. Sections to read include:

2.2 (particularly D), 2.3-6, 3 and 4.1-4.5A.

Endangered Species Act Documents

Final rule & request in the Federal Register
May 4, 2009
Final rule promulgated by the Obama administration to repeal the ESA changes and requesting public input regarding potential improvements or changes to the ESA consultation process. Explains what is under review and why.
Endangered Species Act of 1973 Documents and Resources
This page by the Fish and Wildlife Service provides links to the ESA itself and many helpful summary and explanatory documents, including a glossary. Download the Act and read Section 7 (pages 15-23) and consider whether the rule is consistent with the Act.
Final Rule & Request in the Federal Register
December 16, 2008
This rule, promulgated by the Bush administration, advanced changes to the ESA Section 7 process. Sections to read include:

• Page 76272, which gives background information on the rule and explains the change.
• Skip or skim the first section of general comments,
• Page 76275 (Biological Opinion) or 76276 (Effects of the Action). Note: The introduction to each comment topic is often helpful. Focus on those comments and responses that pertain to consultations and the specific definition changes mentioned in the hearing topic questions.


Endangered Species Act: Many GAO Recommendations Have Been Implemented, but Some Issues Remain
Government Accountability Office (GAO) report 2008

This performance audit assesses implementation of the ESA by the Services. Sections to read:
• The summary and background
• The section addressing consultation on pages 15-17

National Endangered Species Act Reform Coalition (NESARC) Comments on Proposed Revisions to ESA Section 7 Rules

This document interprets the final rule and suggests some additional changes to the act. It is helpful for understanding some of the challenges faced by the Services and the applicants, and gives a more business-friendly perspective on how some of those challenges should be addressed. NESARC is a coalition of about 150 organizations, including utilities, irrigators, and farmers.

“The Endangered Species Act and Its Implementation by the Departments of Interior and Commerce”
OA Houck, University of Colorado Law Review. 1993.
Note: this paper can be found on HeinOnline. :

Houck addresses the low proportion of jeopardy decisions and examines reasons for the lack of jeopardy decisions. His paper is a good resource for identifying what parts of the consultation process should be reviewed. Read: pages 315-328.