REFERENCE TITLE: critical habitat; expansion; urging repeal
State of Arizona
First Regular Session
A CONCURRENT Memorial
urging the President and Congress of the United States to take action to repeal the final rules expanding the definition of critical habitat.
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To the President and Congress of the United States:
Your memorialist respectfully represents:
Whereas, in response to Executive Order 13563, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service (Services) amended portions of their regulations that implement the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended; and
Whereas, the final rules implementing these changes, which went into effect on March 14, 2016, expand the definition of critical habitat to include areas in which "[species'] presence or habitats are ephemeral in nature, [or] [species'] presence is difficult to establish through surveys"; and
Whereas, Arizona has joined a state coalition in challenging these final rules through a lawsuit that was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Alabama against the United States Secretary of the Interior, the United States Secretary of Commerce and the Services; and
Whereas, as explained in the complaint, the final rules "allow the Services to declare areas occupied critical habitat that are not occupied by the species and that could not support the species were it moved there, on the supposition that one day the essential physical and biological features might develop and the species might return"; and
Whereas, the final rules make it easier for the Services to designate an unoccupied area as a critical habitat than to do so for an occupied area; and
Whereas, under the final rules, the Services could designate entire states as critical habitats for certain species; and
Whereas, the complaint explains that "statutory and constitutional limitations on the authority of federal agencies protect citizens from the intrusion of the federal government into areas where local knowledge is critical to designing effective rules and policies"; and
Whereas, by ignoring these statutory and constitutional limitations, the final rules not only constitute federal overreach but also impede local conservation efforts to protect endangered and threatened species.
Wherefore your memorialist, the Senate of the State of Arizona, the House of Representatives concurring, prays:
1. That the President and Congress of the United States take action to repeal the final rules expanding the definition of critical habitat.
2. That the Secretary of State of the State of Arizona transmit copies of this Memorial to the President of the United States, the President of the United States Senate, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives and each Member of Congress from the State of Arizona.