11:36 PM EDT

Doug Lamborn, R-CO 5th

Mr. LAMBORN. Mr. Chair, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Chairman, my amendment is straightforward. It simply ensures that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has to follow section 4(c)(2) of the Endangered Species Act by conducting a review of all threatened and endangered plants and wildlife at least once every 5 years. It prohibits any funds in the bill from being used to implement or enforce the listing of any plant or wildlife that has not undergone the review as required by law.

Under the Endangered Species Act, the purpose of a 5-year review is to ensure that threatened and endangered species have the appropriate level of protection. The reviews assess each threatened and endangered species to determine whether its status has changed since the time of its listing or its last status review and whether it should be removed from the list, delisted; reclassified from endangered to threatened, downlisted; reclassified from threatened to endangered, uplisted; or maintain

its current classification. You can find all this on the Web site of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Because the Endangered Species Act grants extensive protection to a species, including harsh penalties for landowners and other citizens, it makes sense to verify if a plant or animal should be on the list in the first place.

Despite this commonsense requirement, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has acknowledged that it has neglected its responsibility to conduct the required reviews for hundreds of listed species.

For example, in Florida alone, it was found that 77 species out of a total of 124 protected species in that State were overdue for a 5-year review. In other words, the government had not followed the law for a staggering 62 percent of species in that State.

In California, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service acknowledged that it had failed to follow the law for roughly two-thirds of the State's species listed under the Endangered Species Act and was forced by the courts to conduct the required reviews of 194 species.

By enforcing the 5-year review, which is in current law, my amendment will ensure that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is using the best available scientific information in implementing its responsibilities under the Endangered Species Act, including incorporating new information through public comment and assessing ongoing conservation efforts. These are things we should all be in agreement with.

I encourage my colleagues to join me in ensuring that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service follows the Endangered Species Act, that we do not provide money in this bill that would violate current law.

Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.

11:42 PM EDT

Doug Lamborn, R-CO 5th

Mr. LAMBORN. Mr. Chairman, I am glad that my colleague from Minnesota acknowledged that it is required under the law for Fish and Wildlife Service to do these 5-year reviews. I thank her for admitting that.

Their budget is approximately $1.4 billion, and they are able to prioritize within that $1.4 billion where they spend their resources. It is not Congress' fault. They just haven't made it a priority. They should make it a priority to follow the law. They can do these few hundred reviews every year out of $1.4 billion, I am sure.

I would ask my colleagues to support this amendment. Let's require this agency to follow the laws that are on the books.

Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.

11:43 PM EDT

Doug Lamborn, R-CO 5th

Mr. LAMBORN. Mr. Chairman, I am glad that my colleague from Minnesota acknowledged that it is required under the law for Fish and Wildlife Service to do these 5-year reviews. I thank her for admitting that.

Their budget is approximately $1.4 billion, and they are able to prioritize within that $1.4 billion where they spend their resources. It is not Congress' fault. They just haven't made it a priority. They should make it a priority to follow the law. They can do these few hundred reviews every year out of $1.4 billion, I am sure.

I would ask my colleagues to support this amendment. Let's require this agency to follow the laws that are on the books.

Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.

11:43 PM EDT

Betty McCollum, D-MN 4th

Ms. McCOLLUM. Mr. Chairman, I want to be really clear. This bill now includes a 50 percent cut to the listing program. The listing program is money that Congress puts in it to do the reviews. Congress cut it by 50 percent.

They can't just transfer money around. We have handcuffed and tied up the Fish and Wildlife Service by the amount of funding that Congress gives them to do their job.

They don't wake up in the morning and say: We don't want to follow the law.

They wake up in the morning, and they see how much Congress has appropriated them.

11:43 PM EDT

Betty McCollum, D-MN 4th

Ms. McCOLLUM. Mr. Chairman, I want to be really clear. This bill now includes a 50 percent cut to the listing program. The listing program is money that Congress puts in it to do the reviews. Congress cut it by 50 percent.

They can't just transfer money around. We have handcuffed and tied up the Fish and Wildlife Service by the amount of funding that Congress gives them to do their job.

They don't wake up in the morning and say: We don't want to follow the law.

They wake up in the morning, and they see how much Congress has appropriated them.