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A Blanket 4(d) Rule Doesn’t Incentivize Recovery

  • Jonathan Wood
  • A threatened Yellow-Billed Cuckoo. © Ashley Wahlberg

    This public comment was submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service opposing the proposed reinstatement of the “blanket rule” regulating threatened species as if they were endangered.

    Main Points
    • To meet the Endangered Species Act’s ultimate goal of recovering species, better incentives are needed for habitat restoration and other proactive recovery efforts. Without them, few species improve and recover.
    • Creative threatened species regulations can provide these incentives and spur recovery. By charting “roadmaps to recovery” rewarding gradual progress with incremental regulatory relief, the Service can encourage proactive conservation by states and landowners.
    • The proposed “blanket rule” treating threatened and endangered species the same would, instead, undermine recovery incentives and make states and landowners indifferent to whether a species is endangered or threatened, improving, or declining.
    • The proposed rule also violates the ESA.

    While the Endangered Species Act has proven effective at preventing extinction, better incentives for habitat restoration and other proactive conservation efforts are urgently needed to recover species. The proposed blanket rule would undermine these incentives by making states and private landowners indifferent to whether a species is endangered or threatened, improving or declining. It would undermine species conservation and recovery, while provoking conflict with states and private landowners. PERC urges the Service to withdraw this proposal and, instead, use its authority to tailor regulations more creatively to improve conservation incentives and put more species on the road to recovery.

    Written By
    • Jonathan Wood
      • Vice President of Law & Policy

      Jonathan Wood is vice president of law and policy at PERC, leading PERC’s Conservation Law and Policy Center.

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