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KNRC Files Lawsuit Against US Fish & Wildlife Service; Requests PECE Rule to be Remanded to Congress
Wichita, KS –
Today, the Kansas Natural Resource Coalition (KNRC) filed a lawsuit in the United States Federal District Court for the District of Kansas to require agency compliance with the Congressional Review Act of 1962. At issue is the failure of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to submit its Policy for Evaluation of Conservation Efforts When Making Listing Decisions (PECE) Rule to the Congress for approval as required by federal statute.
Developed in 2003, the USFWS PECE Rule provides a positive framework for species conservation under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The PECE specifically encourages states, counties, industry, and property owners to voluntarily collaborate in conservation initiatives, potentially reducing or eliminating altogether the need for federal intervention or listing of species under the ESA.
Despite a clear statutory mandate that agencies submit every new rule for review, Congress was not given the opportunity to evaluate the PECE, potentially subjecting legitimate, effective, and expensive conservation programs to litigatory mischief by environmental groups and non-governmental organizations .
The Congressional Review Act was enacted to address the longstanding problem of federal agencies granting themselves regulatory powers beyond those delegated by Congress. Astonishingly, many federal agencies — not just Department of Interior — have for years chosen to ignore the Congressional Review Act requirements when imposing rules on the states, industry, local governments, and the public. The problem is so prolific, that between 2001 and 2009, the Congressional Research Service reports that federal agencies failed to submit more than 1,000 substantive rules to the Congress for consideration.
In this litigation, the Pacific Legal Foundation and KRNC have partnered in requesting federal courts to require USFWS to submit the PECE rule for congressional approval. A favorable ruling will provide predictability for local conservation efforts, and greater certainty for federal administrative processes.
KRNC also hopes this case will set a positive precedent, realigning authority away from the executive and back to the Congress. This case furthers KNRCs position on delegation to agencies.
The Kansas Natural Resource Coalition (KNRC) is an association of counties who maintain collective and participatory involvement in administrative government on behalf of its citizenry. The Coalition serves as a conduit between local, state and federal governments to promote balanced, necessary and effective administrative policy making through the mechanism of government-to-government coordination. Our mission is to monitor, analyze, understand, communicate, and participate in those initiatives that materially affect the natural or human systems governed by individual member counties.
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