Feds: Slow down on ESA plan

By Jayson Jacoby, The Baker City Herald

The federal government can devote about as much time and money as it wants to writing rules and laws, yet bureaucrats seem to believe the citizens affected ought to be able to read reams of badly written jargon in a couple of months.

Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., and 42 other lawmakers think citizens are being shortchanged.

We agree.

Officials from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration should heed the legislators' advice and give Americans more time to comment on three proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

These changes, which were unveiled on May 12, could result in more public and private land being designated as critical habitat for threatened and endangered species.

If enacted, those changes could have a major effect on the use of public and private land in Baker County and elsewhere in Oregon.

We're thinking here in particular of the looming possibility of the sage grouse being listed as threatened or endangered, a decision the Fish and Wildlife Service is supposed to make in 2015.

And yet with so much potentially at stake, the two federal agencies proposed to give the public just 60 days to comment on the changes to the ESA.

Walden and the other lawmakers suggest adding six months to the comment period.

That's a reasonable request.

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The Baker City Herald
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