Says, ‘These rules would unnecessarily prevent economic development on large areas of land’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, along with 13 other states, sent a letter to the Trump Transition Team, urging the incoming administration to issue an executive order that restores the definition of “critical habitats” for endangered and threatened species back to its previous definition adopted in 1984.
The states are calling on the President-elect to make clear that the rules from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service, which revise the definition of critical habitat, are unlawful and cannot be enforced.
“These rules would unnecessarily prevent economic development on large areas of land based on an idea that at some point in the future an endangered species might potentially live or visit there,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “This is just one more hoop those in rural America would have to jump through that will negatively impact economic growth. I am an avid sportsman and landowner and want to protect endangered and threatened species for future generations, but these rules are not the way to do it, and I urge the President-elect to withdraw them as soon as possible.”
Arkansas along with the State of Alabama are leading a coalition of 18 states that are challenging the rules that effectively declare that any area currently unoccupied by an endangered species by may potentially host an endangered species could be classified as critical habitat subject to stringent regulations.
The letter explains that the critical habitat rules are unlawful and could have a significant impact on private landowners and their property rights.
In addition to Rutledge and Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange, the letter is signed by attorneys general from Alaska, Arizona, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, South Carolina, Texas, West Virginia and Wyoming.