In May 2015, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration proposed changes to the regulations for listing petitions. Many industry groups supported the changes, because they clarified the standards for listing petitions, the documentation required in those petitions, and coordination with state wildlife agencies. The Services took public comment on the proposed regulations and, on April 21, 2016, have issued proposed revisions to their original proposal. Many of these revisions roll back the original proposed changes.
Following are several examples of the differences between the original proposal and the revisions:
- Petitions to list or delist a species limited to one species per petition.
- Petitions to list or delist a species are limited to one “taxonomic” species per petition, meaning that a petition can include more than one species so long as they are in the same species, subspecies or distinct population segments.
- Petitions must include a certification that all relevant information readily available is provided, including information both supporting and negating the proposed action.
- This requirement has been removed. Instead, petitioners are required to send a notification letter to the state wildlife agency in each state where the species resides at least 30 days before submitting the petition to FWS or NMFS.
- Petitions would be rejected if they did not include all of the information outlined in the regulation.
- The Secretaries retain discretion to accept petitions that “substantially comply” with the regulation.
A copy of the proposed revisions can be found here. The Services are accepting comments on the proposed revisions through May 23.