Tipton Legislation Would Incentivize Proactive, Voluntary Species Conservation Efforts
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Tipton (CO-03) introduced a bill that would incentivize more proactive, voluntary conservation efforts to help prevent listings under the Endangered Species Act. The bipartisan Land Ownership Collaboration Accelerates Life, otherwise known as the LOCAL Act (H.R. 6344), was introduced with 15 original cosponsors.
“The most effective approach to species recovery and conservation is through proactive, localized efforts that take into account the unique landscape, habitat and ecological conditions of an area,” said Tipton. “It is critical to empower the landowners who have their boots on the ground every day to lead critical conservation and recovery efforts.”
The Endangered Species Act (ESA) was passed in 1973 to protect imperiled species from 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 out 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.
“I don’t think you can find a better steward of public land or protector of animals than landowners who are out working their land every day for farming, ranching or for other purposes,” Tipton added. “They know the challenges that threatened and endangered species face, and they are in a unique position to provide input on the best conservation strategies.”
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.
“We have seen how collaboration and localized initiatives have benefitted species like the Sage-Grouse in Colorado,” Tipton said. “The best way to protect species is by preventing them from getting listed in the first place, so we need to start being proactive instead of reactive. This is the goal of the LOCAL Act.”
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