WASHINGTON – U.S. Representative Mike Johnson introduced the Critical Habitat Improvement Act to ensure regulations under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) do not improperly burden landowners or stifle the economic development of Louisiana’s Fourth Congressional District.
Johnson’s bill reduces federal overreach in the critical habitat designation process by requiring: 1) any designation to be essential for the conservation of the species, and 2) that the Secretary of the Interior first looks to land where the species currently lives before designating unoccupied areas as “critical habitat.”
“While the original intent of the Endangered Species Act is noble, the law has failed to make any meaningful impact on wildlife recovery and has instead placed a tremendous burden on Louisiana’s landowners and economy,” said Johnson. “For example, under the Obama administration, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service used the ESA to limit development on more than 1,500 acres of Louisiana land in an effort to recover the endangered dusky gopher frog. Notably, the impacted property did not even possess the environmental features the frog needed to survive. My bill makes common sense reforms to ensure endangered species are protected without compromising the success of hardworking Louisianians.”