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A Modest Role for a Bold Term: “Critical Habitat” Under the Endangered Species Act

August 2013

Citation: 43 ELR 10671

Issue: 8

Author: David J. Hayes, Michael J. Bean, and Martha Williams

Each year the Interior Department’s Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) and its sister agency, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), spend a significant portion of their limited resources—and engender substantial controversy—in identifying critical habitat for various species as required by the Endangered Species Act, 16 U.S.C. §§1531-1544 (ESA). Professor Owen has done a great service in developing and analyzing empirical evidence suggesting that both the expense and controversy may be out of proportion to the actual effect of critical habitat designations.

David J. Hayes is the Former Deputy Secretary at the U.S. Department of the Interior. Michael J. Bean is the Counselor to the Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks at the U.S. Department of the Interior. Martha Williams is the Deputy Solicitor Parks and Wildlife at the U.S. Department of the Interior.

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