Jones Takes Action to Reform Endangered Species Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Walter B. Jones (NC-3) is taking action to modernize the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in order to prevent the waste of taxpayer money and implementation of unnecessary, economically harmful regulations.  This week, Congressman Jones is cosponsoring seven pieces of legislation that would bring transparency to ESA processes and reduce the law’s impact on economic growth.

 “In Eastern North Carolina, we continue to see the negative economic impact of unnecessary ESA-related regulations,” said Congressman Jones.  “These regulations are often based on suspect science, and they are implemented on top of other federal, state and local management measures that are already adequately protecting the species in question.  The bills that I’ve cosponsored would enact common-sense reforms, bring transparency to ESA listing and litigation procedures, and ensure that the economy and other important factors are fully considered before more unnecessary regulations are put into place.”

 A summary of the legislation that Congressman Jones is cosponsoring follows:

  •  H.R. 1314 – Would prevent special interest groups from bringing unnecessary lawsuits against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – which are settled on the taxpayer dime and often result in action being taken without advice from experts or impacted groups – by amending the ESA to allow input from any person, business, state or local government that would be affected by the settlement of the lawsuit.
  • H.R. 4256 – Endangered Species Improvement Act of 2014 – Would ensure that the federal government counts animals dwelling on both private and federal lands when determining recovery for species listed as threatened or endangered.
  • H.R. 4315 – 21st Century Endangered Species Transparency Act – Would provide transparency in ESA listing decisions by requiring the data used in making those decisions to be publicly available online.
  • H.R. 4316 – Endangered Species Recovery Transparency Act – Would provide transparency in the cost of litigation brought against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) under the ESA by requiring FWS to report to Congress and make available online the amount of taxpayer money used to respond to lawsuits, the number of employees dedicated to litigation, and attorneys fees awarded as a result of lawsuits.
  • H.R. 4317 – State, Tribal, and Local Species Transparency and Recovery Act – Would require that in making ESA listing decisions, the federal government use scientific and commercial data provided by states, tribes, and local governments that will be affected by the listing, and disclose to those governments what data was used in making the decision.
  • H.R. 4318 – Endangered Species Litigation Reasonableness Act – Would place caps on taxpayer-funded attorneys fees in litigation brought under the ESA, making the law consistent with the Equal Access to Justice Act.
  • H.R. 4319 – Common Sense in Species Protection Act – Would require that before issuing a critical habitat designation, the federal government must publish and make available for public comment a comprehensive analysis, taking into account public and private economic effects on land use, property value, employment, and the provision of public services such as water and power.

 For additional information, please contact Sarah Howard in Congressman Jones’ office at (202) 225-3415 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

At the request of Congressman Jones, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service within the Department of the Interior has scheduled a public hearing in Manteo extended the official comment period with regard to the designation of critical habitat for the Rufa Red Knot under the Endangered Species Act.

North Carolina - Alligator National Wildlife Refuge

Visitor Center

100 Conservation Way

Manteo, NC 27954

Thursday, June 5, 2014

5 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. Public Information Session

7 p.m. - 8 p.m. Public Hearing

The designation of critical habitat can have significant impact on how public land may be used.  Dare county has been directly affected by critical habitat designation for the piping plove and for loggerhead sea turtles in the past.

Many important public areas within Dare County as well as within other coastal North Carolina counties are included in the proposed designation.
The OBPA urges all residents and visitors to become familiar with the proposed regulation and to submit comments.
Click this link to review regulatory documents and submit comments prior to the June 15, 2014 deadline.

In an earlier article, we advised you that the  National Marine Fisheries Service had published a proposed rule to designate marine critical habitat for the loggerhead sea turtle.

The rule proposes the designation of 36 areas along the southeast coast and Gulf of Mexico as marine critical habitat (CH) for the Northwest Atlantic DPS.  Each of these areas has been identified as containing one or more of the following four habitat types:

(a)    Nearshore Reproductive Habitat

(b)   Winter Habitat

(c)    Breeding Habitat

(d)   Migratory Habitat

NMFS asked for comments regarding these proposed designations as well as “comment on whether to include in the final rule some areas that contain foraging habitat and two large areas that contain Sargassum habitat.”

The NMFS proposal was based on scientific data analyses and economic impact analyses that contained significant shortcomings which must be addressed before the final rule is established.  We believe the designation of any CH must be based on the proper application of regulations established by the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  Most importantly, NMFS must base its recommendation for each CH on the best available science (including a thorough analysis of the best available historical data) and on an accurate assessment of the CH’s importance to the survival of the species.  It must also give proper consideration to economic and social impacts due to any CH designation it makes.

The full OBPA response submitted to the NMFS can be read here.

A hearing has been scheduled in Manteo on November 21, 2013 related to the Proposed Designation of Marine Critical Habitat for the Loggerhead Sea Turtle.  The hearing will be conducted by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), an agency within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Department of Commerce.

The OBPA will publish a summary of our views on the issues that affect our membership and which must be appropriately addressed by NOAA during this process.  We will publish our recommendations prior to the meeting for our members to consider in their official comments.

We encourage all to comment of this important matter, and to attend the meeting in Manteo on November 21, 2013 if you are able.  Comments are due by 11/29/2013.

The announcement published  11/4/2013 in the Federal Register follows.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 226

RIN 0648–BD27

Proposed Designation of Marine Critical Habitat for the Loggerhead Sea Turtle, Caretta caretta, Under the Endangered Species Act; Public Hearing

AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

Notice of public hearing.

SUMMARY: We, NMFS, will hold a public hearing related to our Proposed Designation of Marine Critical Habitat for the Loggerhead Sea Turtle, Caretta caretta, under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

DATES: The public hearing will be held on November 21, 2013, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., with doors  opening at 6:30 p.m.

The hearing will be held at: Dare County Administration Building, Dare County Board of Commissioners Meeting Room, 954 Marshall C. Collins Drive, Manteo, NC 27954.


Susan Pultz, NMFS Office of Protected
Resources, Silver Spring, MD,
telephone: 301–427–8472,
email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



NMFS staff will present a brief overview of the Proposed Rule titled Designation of Critical Habitat for the Northwest Atlantic Ocean Loggerhead Sea Turtle Distinct Population Segment (DPS) and Determination Regarding Critical Habitat for the North Pacific Ocean Loggerhead DPS. Following this overview, members of the public will have the opportunity to go on record with comments on the proposed designation. Members of the public may also submit written comments at the hearing, or via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. To do the latter, go to!documentDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2013-0079-0002 , click the ‘‘Comment Now!’’ icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. The proposed rule was published in the Federal Register on July 18, 2013 (78 FR 43006) and may be obtained at!documentDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2013-0079-0002 or
More information and background documents can be found at
 Scroll down to ‘‘Key Documents.’’

Speaker Sign Up

Doors will open for registration at 6:30 p.m. for sign-up and seating. Time allotted will depend upon the number of speakers but will likely be limited to 5 minutes each. Registered speakers will be asked to indicate their full name, contact information, and the identity of any organizations on whose behalf they may be speaking.

Special Accommodations
The meeting is physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for auxiliary aids should be directed to Susan Pultz (see ADDRESSES) 3 days prior to the meeting.


OBPA Annual Members Meeting

1:00 p.m. Saturday, October 26, 2013

Cape Hatteras Anglers Club • 47231 Light Plant Road • Buxton, NC 27920

Dear OBPA Members;

The Outer Banks Preservation Association will hold its annual members meeting on Saturday October 26, 2013 at the Cape Hatteras Anglers Club, 47231 Light Plant Road Buxton N.C. 27920 at 1:00 pm.  The annual meeting will consist of a report from the president for the prior year and up-to-date informational reports to the membership by the Officers and committees.  No business will be conducted at this meeting.  Minutes of the meeting will be posted at  After the meeting, the Board of Directors will answer any questions members might have.  Hope to see you there.


John Couch

President OBPA


Legislative Action:

House of Representatives:

  • 2/26/2013 - House Bill H.R. 819, Preserving Access to Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area Act, was introduced by Congressman Walter B. Jones.
  • 3/14/2013 - The House Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation held a Legislative hearing on H.R. 819.  Congressman Walter B. Jones and Dare County Commissioners Chairman Warren Judge provided testimony at this hearing in Washington, D.C.
  • 5/15/2013 – H.R. 819 approved 24 – 17 by House Natural Resources Committee.
  • 7/9/2013 – H.R. 819 reported by the Committee and placed on the Union Calendar item 106.


  • 3/7/2013 - Senate Bill S.486, Preserving Public Access to Cape Hatteras Beaches Act, was introduced by Senators Burr and cosponsored by Senator Hagan.
  • 4/23/2013 - The Senate Subcommittee on National Parks held a hearing on S.486.
  • 6/17/2013 – Senator Burr introduced an amendment to S. 486 cosponsored by Senator Hagan.
  • The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources unanimously approved an amendment to S. 486 in the nature of a substitute.
  • 9/10/2013 – Senator Wyden, Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, reported S. 486 with amendment in the nature of a substitute to the Senate.
  • 9/10/2013 – S.486 placed on the Senate Legislative Calendar item number 180.  Floor debate and vote have not yet been scheduled.

What can you do?

  • Contact your Senators and urge them to support S.486 and take the steps necessary to bring to the floor and pass this legislation.

Legal Action:

  • CHAPA vs Salazar(DOI), Jarvis(NPS), Murray(CAHA) case 1:12-cd-00219 which was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on February 9, 2012.  Remains active in 2013.
  • 12/23/2012 – Judge Emmet G. Sullivan issued an order to transfer the case to the U.S. District Court for Eastern District NC where it was subsequently assigned to Judge Terrence W. Boyle.  The new case number is 2:13-cv-1-BO.
  • 2/25/2013 – Court issued Scheduling Order for motions to be filed by the parties in the case.
  • 4/18/2013 – Court granted plaintiff’s (CHAPA) motion for extension of time to file motion for summary judgment from 4/19/2013 to 7/10/2013 with similar extensions for other scheduled dates.
  • 7/10/2013 – Plaintiff (CHAPA) filed motion for Summary Judgment.  (See OBPA website to read motion)
  • 9/10/2013 – Court granted defendants’ (DOI) motion for extension of time to file motion for summary judgment from 9/10/2013 to 10/8/2013.  Plaintiff’s (CHAPA) response will be due 12/12/2013 and defendants’ replies will be due 1/13/2014.

Educational Efforts:

Visit for the most current information on Free and Open Access to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area