The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) have proposed changes to the role and timing of economic impact analyses during the process of designating critical habitat for an endangered species. According to the notice, these changes will improve transparency and accountability during this process.
One of the key elements of protecting endangered species is protecting the habitats where these species live. However, designating vast swaths of land as critical habitat may have unintended economic impacts on adjacent communities if the designation hinders economic development or reduces property values.
According to the notice, these changes would help the federal agencies making the designation more sensitive to the economic impacts and provide the public with access to this kind of information earlier in the designation process. These changes would also revise what weight the agencies give to this kind of economic impact data.
NAR staff is reviewing the proposal and will provide comments to FWS and NMFS.