Apr 29 2015
WASHINGTON –U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) released the following statement after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced its final critical habitat designations for the Neosho mucket and rabbitsfoot mussels under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA).
“I am reviewing the latest information from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, but it appears the agency is still misjudging the cost of this critical habitat designation. I am glad to see the size of the designation was reduced from the original proposal, but I believe the agency is underestimating the cost. An honest accounting would include all impacts – not just the costs to federal agencies.
Actions that involve federal funds or federal permits are very extensive and the Obama Administration is trying to require permits over additional areas under the Clean Water Act. The cost of federal project delays and federal permitting activities impact development, job creation, and infrastructure construction. The agency needs to reform its practice and reconsider this critical habitat designation immediately.”
BACKGROUND: In 2012, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) listed the Neosho mucket and rabbitsfoot mussel were listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) on Sept. 17, 2013. The ESA designation triggered a requirement that the Fish and Wildlife agency identify the critical habitat, the geographic area considered essential to the survival of the two freshwater mussels. According to FWS, the number of river miles included in the critical habitat designation announced today was reduced by 27 percent. However, the final designation still fails to consider the costs to farmers, businesses and state and local governments. Maps of the final designation show it includes at least 501 miles of Arkansas rivers.