Call for Common-Sense Approach to Protect Arkansas's Economy
Jul 31 2014
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Mark Pryor and John Boozman today introduced the Private Landowner Protection Act, bipartisan legislation to ensure the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) takes into account the full economic impact of proposed critical habitat designations. Over the past year, the senators have expressed serious concerns about the negative economic ramifications a critical habitat designation for the Neosho Mucket and Rabbitsfoot Mussel could have on the state.
“These critical habitat designations could harm the economic viability of our private lands. They could hamper our ability to obtain loans, lower property values, and even restrict use to our land,” Pryor said. “Instead of considering the costs to the government, the FWS needs to take into account the impact these designations would have on all those involved. It’s just plain common-sense.”
“Along with Congressman Crawford’s legislation, the bill we are introducing in the Senate sends a strong message that the entire Arkansas Delegation remains concerned with what this agency is trying to do in Arkansas. The critical habitat designation will impact Arkansas families, farms, businesses and communities. I’ve been working with the delegation to both hold the FWS accountable and force it to be more transparent,” Boozman said.
Last year, the FWS issued a final rule that would implement an “incremental approach” to analyzing the economic impact of critical habitat designations versus a “quantitative analysis.” This approach would require FWS to only consider the cost to the government of consulting on critical habitat, instead of considering costs to all stakeholders. The senators’ bill would reverse this short-sighted approach and implement a comprehensive approach, requiring it to consider costs to agriculture producers, businesses, county and city governments, and other local entities. It would also require the Interior to publish the economic analysis for public comment.