Tipton Bill to Encourage Proactive, Localized Conservation Efforts Receives Hearing in Natural Resources Committee
WASHINGTON D.C. – This week, during a full hearing in the House Natural Resources Committee, Congressman Scott Tipton (CO-03) spoke in support of his bill, the Land Ownership Collaboration Accelerates Life Act, known as the LOCAL Act (H.R. 6344). The LOCAL Act would encourage localized, proactive conservation efforts to help prevent listings under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
“It is critical that we empower landowners who have boots on the ground to lead critical conservation and recovery efforts,” said Tipton. “We have seen firsthand how local efforts that considered the unique conditions of an area benefited Sage-Grouse recovery in Colorado, and this legislation would continue to implement this successful strategy by incentivizing landowners to take proactive measures that protect threatened and endangered species.”
During the hearing, Tipton asked Mr. Gregg Renkes, Director of the Office of Policy Analysis at the U.S. Department of Interior (DOI), if the DOI has used voluntary conservation practices in the past and if we should be incentivizing these practices in the future.
Mr. Renkes testified that voluntary practices are one of the most important strategies that the Department of Interior utilizes and used the recovery of the Louisiana Black Bear as an example, stating that the species was saved thanks to the voluntary conservation efforts of private forest owners, farmers and landowners. He then agreed that the DOI should incentive local landowners to participate in conservation efforts.
Watch Tipton’s full line of questioning HERE.
The ESA was passed in 1973 to preserve and recover species that are on the brink of extinction. The LOCAL Act would amend the ESA to give the federal government the opportunity to engage non-federal landowners in voluntary conservation efforts through Species Recovery Agreements (SRA), Habitat Reserve Agreements (HRA), Private Party Conservation Grants and a Conservation Planning Loan Program.
Through a SRA or HRA, the Secretary of the Interior could enter into an agreement with a non-federal landowner who agrees to carry our activities that protect or restore habitat and contribute to the recovery of an endangered or threatened species. The landowner would receive payments to cover the costs of the agreements.
Through Private Party Conservation Grants, a private property owner could receive financial conservation aid to alleviate the burden of ESA compliance and states, counties and municipalities could receive assistance for conservation planning through the Conservation Planning Loan Program.
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