Dear Chairman Barrasso,
The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) supports the goal of conserving threatened and endangered species. NASDA thanks you for your leadership in advancing meaningful reforms to the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This legislative package presents an opportunity to elevate the state’s role in the implementation of the ESA which has been a long-term policy priority of NASDA. Further, we look forward to working with the committee in a bipartisan fashion to advance policies that protect endangered species while working with agriculture producers through the listing, delisting, and conservation processes.
NASDA represents the Commissioners, Secretaries, and Directors of the state departments of agriculture in all fifty states and four U.S. territories. State departments of agriculture are responsible for a wide range of programs including combating the spread of disease, conserving natural resources, wildlife management and fostering economic vitality in rural communities.
NASDA supports provisions of the legislation that mandate reliance on the “best scientific and commercial data available” when making decisions regarding listing and delisting of species, as well as when assessing status and recovery of endangered species. NASDA likewise supports provisions of the legislation that elevate the role of states and provide farmers, ranchers, and environmental groups, a more formal seat at the table in recovery planning and implementation. We appreciate the inclusion of language that supports cooperation with states to the maximum extent possible in implementation. NASDA supports greater partnership between the states and the Services on gathering species and habitat data, the petition and determination processes, preparation of recovery plans, identification of recovery areas, and subsequent status decisions.
NASDA would like to acknowledge that no legislation is perfect. As the bill advances through the legislative process, NASDA would support amendments that address other policy priorities including preservation of private property rights and allowance for a balance between agricultural production and species conservation.
We look forward to working with you to effectively modernize the ESA. If you have any questions, please contact Zach Gihorski, Associate Director, Policy (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Barbara P. Glenn, Ph.D.
Chief Executive Officer