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ESA Comments and Letters

Endangered Species Act

Comments to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on the Implementation of Executive Order 13777, Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda, at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Sep 21, 2017 – Comments in response to the Department of Interior’s (DOI’s) request for public comment on ways to improve implementation of regulatory reform initiatives, policies, and identify regulations for repeal, replacement or modification under Executive Order 13777, “Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda.” The comments specifically address regulatory reform at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, including ESA reform.

Comments on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Endangered Species Act Compensatory Mitigation Policy
October 17, 2016 – (joint with API, AXPC, IAGC, Western Energy Alliance) Comments to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on its Endangered Species Act Compensatory Mitigation Policy. The groups agree with the Service’s goal of improving the efficacy and efficiency of ESA conservation programs, but are concerned that the Draft Compensatory Mitigation Policy will not bring forth the clarity, predictability, or transparency that the Service anticipates.

Extension Request for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Endangered Species Act Compensatory Mitigation Policy
September 8, 2016 – (joint with API, AXPC, Western Energy Alliance) Comments requesting the Services extend the public comment period for this proposal for at least an additional 30 days, noting the existing public comment period provides only a limited window for review and comment.

Comments on Joint U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service Habitat Conservation Planning Handbook Draft Revision, 81 Fed. Reg. 41986
August 29, 2016 – (joint with API, PAW, AXPC, Western Energy Alliance) Comments on the joint U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service draft revision to their Habitat Conservation Planning Handbook.

Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances Policy
July 1, 2016 – Comments on proposed revisions to the Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances policy regarding changes to policies encouraging early and voluntary conservation.

Comments on the Revisions to the Regulations for Petitions for Listing Under the Endangered Species Act
May 23, 2016 – (joint with API) Comments objecting to new wording of Sec. 424.14(b), regarding the information on each species prior to listing and requiring only one species to be submitted for petition at a time.

Comments on the Proposed Revisions to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Mitigation Policy
May 9, 2016 – (joint with API) Comments on compensatory mitigation that reaches a “no net loss” or “net conservation gain” not being authorized by any statutes cited by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service.

Comments on Draft Methodology for Prioritizing Status Reviews and Accompanying 12-Month Findings on Petitions for Listing Under the Endangered Species Act
February 16, 2016 – (joint with API) Comments supporting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service efforts to overhaul its process for addressing species listing by multipart criteria and pre-determined methodology.

Comments on the Proposed Revisions to the Regulations for Petitions Under the Endangered Species Act
September 18, 2015 – (joint with API) Comments supporting the efforts of the Services regarding the proposed revisions to the regulations for petitions filed with the Services under the Endangered Species Act.

Industry Letter of Support to Senator John Cornyn for S. 293, A Bill to Amend the Endangered Species Act to Establish a Procedure for the Approval of Certain Settlements
May 13, 2015 – IPAA letter offering support for S. 293, a bill that would improve the legal framework of the Endangered Species Act by increasing transparency and accountability during settlement negotiations in lawsuits that challenge the Services’ failure to meet deadlines.

Letter to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe Requesting Species Listing Petition Transparency
December 11, 2014 – Requested means for IPAA members to track species earlier, prior to being published in the Federal Register immediately following the receipt of a petition.

Comments in response to Policy regarding Voluntary Prelisting Conservation Actions
November 6, 2014 – (joint with AXPC, AESC, AAPL, IADC, IAGC, NSWA, PESA, PLA, USOGA and others) Comments that the proposed policy fails to achieve incentivizing voluntary conservation efforts, though IPAA supports the initiative.

Comments on Proposal to Amend Definition of Adverse Modification
October 9, 2014 – Comments on the proposal to amend the definition of “destruction or adverse modification” in regards to the use of “conservation value,” the clarification of the phrase “appreciably diminishes” and other phrases in the document.

Comments on Request to Withdraw Federal Lands Exclusion for Endangered Species
October 9, 2014 – Comments on the request to withdraw the draft policy related to federal lands exclusion from critical habitats for endangered species.

Comments on Proposed Changes to Criteria for Designating Critical Habitat
October 9, 2014 – Comments on the proposed changes to 50 CFR 424.12(b) and (e), which deal with the criteria for designating critical habitat “outside the geographical area occupied by a listed species at the time it is listed.”

Comments on the Information Collection Proposal for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Policy Regarding Voluntary Prelisting Conservation Actions
August 20, 2014 – Comments on the definitions outlined in the proposed policy and argues that privacy of private landowners remains unconsidered.

Letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Requesting Comment Deadline Extension for the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the Implementation Changes to the Regulations for Designating Critical Habitat
May 20, 2014 – Requests public comment period extension for the notice of proposed rulemaking for Implementing Changes to the Regulations for Designating Critical Habitat.

Letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Requesting Comment Deadline Extension for the Draft Policy Regarding Implementation of Section 4(b)(2) of the Endangered Species Act
May 20, 2014 – Requests public comment period extension on the draft Policy Regarding Implementation of Section 4(b)(2) of the Endangered Species Act.

Letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Requesting Comment Deadline Extension for the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the Definition of Destruction of Adverse Modification of Critical Habitat
May 20, 2014 – Requests public comment period extension on the proposal to amend the definition of “destruction or adverse modification” in regards to the use of “conservation value,” the clarification of the phrase “appreciably diminishes” and other phrases in the document.

Comments Regarding Incidental Take Statements on the Proposed Changes to Regulations Governing Consultation Under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act
November 3, 2013 – (joint with API) IPAA and API comments regarding Interagency Cooperation on the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as Amended; Incidental Take Statements.

Letter to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe Requesting a Public Hearing on Endangered Species, Forms Industry Task Force
November 5, 2012 – IPAA letter of concern stating that new endangered or threatened animal species listings could harm future U.S. oil and natural gas exploration and production and requesting a public forum on the agency’s future plans regarding the Endangered Species Act.

Bureau of Land Management

Comments on the BLM Resource Management Planning Proposed Rule
May 25, 2016 – (joint with API) IPAA and API submitted comments asking for clear identification of “Planning 2.0” and the relationship to the proposed rule. The rule departs from the Bureau of Land Management’s statutory charge to manage the public lands.

Comments on the Draft for Regional Mitigation manual Section 1794 and BLM Instruction Memorandum 2013-142
March 11, 2014 – (joint with PLA, IAGC, PAW, CPA, MPA, NDPC, Western Energy Alliance) Comments that the proposed draft is a significant departure from historic Bureau of Land Management policy which places a priority on mitigating impacts of projects on public lands onsite.

Migratory Bird Treaty Act

Comments on Permitting Incidental Take Under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act
July 27, 2015 – (joint with API) Comments to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as it looks at permitting incidental take under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The comments question whether the approaches described in the Service’s Notice of Intent are authorized by or consistent with the intent of the statute upon which the Service relies.

Letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Requesting Comment Deadline Extension on its Proposal to Authorize Incidental Take of Migratory Birds Under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act
July 7, 2015 – (joint with API) Letter is to request a 90-day extension in the formal regulatory comment period on incidental take of migratory birds.

SPECIES

American Burying Beetle

Legal Complaint Against U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for Failure to Issue A Decision on Removing the American Burying Beetle from the Endangered Species List

Sep 21, 2017 – IPAA, American Stewards of Liberty, and Osage Producers Association filed a lawsuit with the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Oklahoma against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for failing to issue a timely, required 12-month finding on a petition to remove the American burying beetle from the endangered species list.

Notice of Intent to Sue Based on Failure to Make Finding on Petition to Delist the American Burying Beetle
January 20, 2016 – (joint with the American Stewards of Liberty, the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Dr. Steven W. Carothers) Letter notifying the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that petitioners intended to file a civil suit against the agency in 60 days, following the Service’s failure to announce its 90-day finding on the petition to delist the American burying beetle.

Joint Petition to Delist the American Burying Beetle
August 18, 2015 – (joint with American Stewards of Liberty, the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Dr. Steven W. Carothers) Petition to delist the American Burying Beetle due to the fact that the beetle is no longer in danger of extinction in its habitat range.

Bryde’s Whales

Comments on the National Marine Fisheries Service 90-Day Finding on a Petition to List the Bryde’s Whales in the Gulf of Mexico as an Endangered Distinct Population Segment
June 5, 2015 – (joint with API and IAGC) Comments that neither the scientific evidence nor the Service’s regulations and policies regarding distinct population segments currently support designating Bryde’s whales in the Gulf of Mexico as a distinct population segment.

Diamond Darter

Comments on Proposed Listing and Designation of Critical Habitat for the Diamond Darter
April 29, 2013 – (joint with WVONGA) Comments that the proposed listing and designation of critical habitat comes from unsupported claims and does not consider the economic effects of listing on the area generally, on the coal, oil and gas industry, and on small businesses.

Comments on Proposed Endangered Status for the Diamond Darter and Designations of Critical Habitat
September 24, 2012 – (joint with West Virginia Chamber of Commerce) Comments related to the proposed endangered status for the Diamond Darter and designation of critical habitat comes from unsupported claims and does not consider the economic effects of a listing on oil and gas industrial activities in the Elk River watershed.

Gunnison Sage-Grouse

Comments on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Proposed Critical Habitat Designation for the Gunnison Sage-Grouse
April 2, 2013 – (joint with Western Energy Alliance, PLA, COGA) Comments opposing the listing proposal and proposed designation of critical habitat for the Gunnison Sage-Grouse due to insufficient reasons for designation and due to current funding and conservation efforts.

Comments on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Proposed Endangered Status for the Gunnison Sage-Grouse
April 2, 2013 – (joint with Western Energy Alliance, PLA, COGA) Comments opposing the listing of the Gunnison Sage-Grouse as the current conservation efforts are already funded and far exceed what the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would be able to achieve if the species were listed.

Greater Sage-Grouse

Industry Letter to U.S. Senator Mike Lee in Support of an Amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act on the Status of the Greater Sage-Grouse and Lesser Prairie Chicken
June 15, 2015 – (joint with U.S. Oil and Gas Association, API, Western Energy Alliance) letter expressing support for Amendment #1687 by U.S. Senator Mike Lee to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) regarding the status of the Greater Sage-Grouse and Lesser Prairie Chicken under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The amendment would protect the ability of the Armed Forces to utilize their training facilities while preserving the appropriate state lead role in conserving the two species.

Comments on the Draft Greater Sage-Grouse Land Use Plan Amendment/Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Utah Sub-Region
January 29, 2014 – (joint with API, Western Energy Alliance, PLA) Comments addressing flaws in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement and the proposed implementation by the Bureau of Land Management that would impede federal agencies’ multiple use missions and adversely affect the ability to explore for, produce, and transport domestic energy on public lands due to the Greater Sage-Grouse and its habitat.

Letter to Congressman Cory Gardner in Support of H.R. 4716, the Sage Grouse Protection and Conservation Act
January 15, 2014 – IPAA letter offering full support of H.S. 4716, which details a reasoned undertaking of reform to preserve conservation without prohibiting development.

Comments and Recommendations on Conservation Measures for the Greater Sage-Grouse
January 15, 2014 – (joint with PLA, Western Energy Alliance, COGA, CPA, API) Supports commonsense measures to conserve and protect the Greater Sage-Grouse and its habitat while demonstrating that listing under the Endangered Species Act is unnecessary, due to beliefs that the Draft Environmental Impact Statement is flawed and restrictive to oil and natural gas development.

Comments on Bureau of Land Management Sage-Grouse Conservation Measures
March 23, 2012 – (joint with PLA, CPA, IAGC, MPA, NDPC, PAW, Utah Petroleum Association) Comments on the lack of public vetting and input on the conservations measures of the Greater Sage-Grouse in the Bureau of Land Management’s report. Additionally, the organization expressed issue with the limitations of the lek counts to measure the populations of the birds.

Lesser Prairie-Chicken

Comments on Service’s 90-day Finding on a Petition to List the Lesser Prairie Chicken (LPC) as an Endangered Species 

January 30, 2017 – Comments stating that the best scientific and commercial information available demonstrate that the LPC does not meet the ESA’s definitions of either threatened or endangered species. A listing as threatened or endangered will not provide any additional conservation benefits above what already exists.

Industry Letter to U.S. Senator Mike Lee in Support of an Amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act on the Status of the Greater Sage-Grouse and Lesser Prairie Chicken

June 15, 2015 – (joint with U.S. Oil and Gas Association, API, Western Energy Alliance) Letter expressing support for Amendment #1687 by U.S. Senator Mike Lee to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) regarding the status of the Greater Sage-Grouse and Lesser Prairie Chicken under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The amendment would protect the ability of the Armed Forces to utilize their training facilities while preserving the appropriate state lead role in conserving the two species.

Industry Letter to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Regarding Proposed Rule Listing the Lesser Prairie Chicken as a Threatened Species
January 10, 2014 – (joint letter with API, WEA, COGA, IAGC, IADC) Comments on the premature listing of the Lesser Prairie Chicken without exemptions for incidental takes by the oil and gas industry and examination of the significance of habitat fragmentation of the Lesser Prairie Chicken.

Letter to Department of the Interior Requesting an Extension to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Listing of Lesser Prairie Chicken as a Threatened Species
January 10, 2014 – IPAA opposes the listing of the lesser prairie chicken as the best scientific information available does not warrant a listing and requests an extension to allow on-the-ground conservation efforts to be completed and allow for public participation.

Supplemental Comments on the Proposed Listing of the Lesser Prairie-Chicken as Threatened Under the Endangered Species Act
August 8, 2013 – (joint with API, ANGA, COGA, IADC, the Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association of Oklahoma, NMOGA, OIPA, PPROA, Western Energy Alliance) Comments supporting the conservation of the lesser prairie-chicken though disagreement with the proposed listing due to issues with extent of habitat fragmentation, grassland conservation; the extent to which existing and prospective conservation programs across numerous industry sectors, including oil and gas, may mitigate threats; and the short-term and long-term population trends of the lesser prairie-chicken, particularly as such trends potentially relate to climate change.

Comments on the Proposed Listing of the Lesser Prairie Chicken
June 20, 2013 – (joint with API, ANGA, COGA, IADC, the Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association of Oklahoma, NMOGA, OIPA, PPROA, Western Energy Alliance) As previous comments stated, the Associations believe that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s final determination must be that listing the lesser prairie-chicken as “threatened” is not warranted. If the “threatened” status is granted, the Associations would support the simultaneous publication of a special rule under Section 4(d) of the Act (“4(d) Special Rule”) to remove prohibitions for takes incidental to lawfully conducted oil and gas operations.

Letter to U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Jim Inhofe in Support of Efforts on the Proposed Listing of the Lesser Prairie Chicken
June 19, 2013 – (joint with API) We write to express our support and appreciation for your efforts on the proposed listing of the Lesser Prairie Chicken. We are grateful to see such interest in this issue from you and your colleagues from the five states that would be affected by a proposed listing.

Comments on the Lesser Prairie Chicken
March 11, 2013 – (joint with API, IADC, MCOGA, NMOGA, OIPA, PPROA, Western Energy Alliance) Comments on the unwarranted listing of the Lesser Prairie Chicken as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service should wait for new data and surveys to be released to inform its decision. If new research does warrant the Lesser Prairie Chicken to be listed as threatened, then the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service should remove prohibitions for lawfully-conducted incidental takes of the bird.

Monarch Butterfly

Comments on the Status of the Monarch Butterfly
March 2, 2015 – (joint with API) Comments in response to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service request for input on the status of the Monarch Butterfly.

Northern Long-Eared Bat

Comments on the Interim 4(d) Rule for the Northern Long-Eared Bat
July 1, 2015 – (joint with API) Comments to further demonstrate that the record compiled by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service does not support disparate treatment of timber harvesting and oil and gas activities. Additionally, the request that the final 4(d) rule for the Northern Long-Eared Bat exempt oil and gas activities from the prohibition against incidental take was reiterated.

Comments on Listing the Northern Long-Eared Bat With a Rule Under Section 4(d) of the Endangered Species Act
March 17, 2015 – (joint with API) Comments citing listing the Northern Long-Eared Bat is not necessary and will have little impact on the future of the Northern Long-Eared Bat.

Third Round of Comments on the Northern Long-Eared Bat and Eastern Small Footed Bat
December 18, 2014 – (joint with API) Requested the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service examine all data within the range of the Northern Long-Eared Bat and examine the conservation status of similar bats. The comments reiterated that there is not enough evidence to list the bat.

Supplemental Comments on the Northern Long-Eared Bat and Eastern Small Footed Bat
August 29, 2014 – (joint with API) Reiterated earlier comments on the Northern Long-Eared Bat, commented that the “best scientific” information is not available and thus does not warrant listing, and that White Nose Syndrome has been the primary reason for the species’ decline and that listing the bat will not reverse or protect the species from the disease.

Comments on the Northern Long-Eared Bat and Eastern Small Footed Bat
January 2, 2014 – (joint with API) Comments that the information offered in support of the proposal to list the Northern Long-Eared Bat, due to a lack of scientific peer review, sole habitat protection to mitigate the symptoms of White Nose Syndrome and the lack of records on research regarding the bat.

Rusty-Patched Bumble Bee

Comments on Proposed Decision to List the Rusty-Patched Bumble Bee as an Endangered Species Under the Endangered Species Act

November 21, 2016 – (joint with API, AXPC) Comments on the lack of reliable data and scientific analysis regarding the RPBB’s population and habitat on which to base the listing proposal. Urges the agency to instead extend the listing decision until a number of ongoing studies conclude in 2017 and provide the best available date to address existing knowledge gaps.

Comments on Petition to List the Rusty-Patched Bumble Bee as an Endangered Species Under the Endangered Species Act
November 17, 2015 – (joint with API) Comments that the petition and information regarding the Rusty-Patched Bumble Bee do not meet the standards for listing a species as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

Sperm Whale

Comment on Proposed Listing of Gulf of Mexico Sperm Whale as a Distinct Population Segment
May 28, 2013 – (joint with API, IAGC, NOIA) Commented that the petition to list the whale is not amongst the four actions for which the Endangered Species Act authorized petitioning, this petition’s sole aim is to change the sperm whale’s taxonomic classification.

Texas Hornshell

Comments on Proposed Endangered Species Status for Texas Hornshell
October 10, 2016 – (joint with API, AXPC, Western Energy Alliance) Comments to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in response to proposed rule to list the Texas Hornshell as endangered under the Endangered Species Act, highlighting that a listing of the species is not warranted.

Yellow-Billed Cuckoo

Comments on Proposed Designation of the Western Distinct Population Segment of the Yellow-billed Cuckoo as a Threatened Species Under the Endangered Species Act
December 2, 2013 – (joint with API) Comments on concern with ensuring that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s review of candidate species and listing determinations, in general, complies with all elements of the listing process under Endangered Species Act Section 4. Findings regarding the species represent a flawed application of the Service’s distinct population segment.