September 11, 2006

GAO Report Shows ESA Reforms Needed

Crapo says CRESA bill offers solutions to problems outlined in study

Washington, DC â?? A newly-released General Accountability Office (GAO) report says that species recovery under the Endangered Species Act would be improved with changes, and Idaho Senator Mike Crapo says his CRESA bill (Collaboration for the Recovery of the Endangered Species Act, S. 2110) offers some of the needed solutions. Crapo introduced the CRESA bill last December with Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-Arkansas). He was one of the members of Congress who requested the GAO to review the success of the ESA.â??What the GAO found in large part was that the creation of habitat and agreement on effective and timely restoration plans are what is most critical in recovering species,â?? Crapo said. â??Those issues are also what is central to the CRESA billâ??an effort to build collaboration around recovery plans and create more habitat by offering incentives to private landowners. The creation of habitat on private lands presents a major opportunity to accelerate species recovery. The CRESA approach as supported by the GAO report, will build cooperation, trust, and increase positive results for species in trouble.â??A central feature of the CRESA bill is the participation by landowners and states to recover species. CRESA would improve recovery plans to gather more information about the species and provide incentives to government and private landowners to carry the plans out. It would also allow the federal government to prioritize its resources to get funding to the species most in need, while incorporating local input on recovery plans and species recovery teams. Crapo has discussed improving the ESA on the Senate floor and has met with Senators on both sides of the aisle and in differing committees to gather input on the CRESA bill. He noted it remains the only bipartisan legislative measure introduced to offer meaningful improvements to the ESA. The CRESA bill was endorsed earlier this year by the Idaho Legislature and grants states more input into species recovery efforts.â??More and more people are agreeing we need to put our efforts into on-the-ground collaborative work and not into arguments and lawsuits. The result will be better for people and better for species,â?? Crapo added.The full GAO report as requested by Crapo and his colleagues is available at: http://www.gao.gov. # # #