There is one summary for S.1364. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in Senate (10/26/1995)

Endangered Species Conservation Act of 1995 - Amends the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (the Act) to revise the findings, purposes, and policy of the Act. Declares it to be congressional policy to conserve endangered and threatened species and to equally consider the conservation of listed species, preservation of economic growth, maintenance of a strong tax base, and protection against the diminishment of the use and value of private property.

(Sec. 3) Revises definitions under the Act, including the definition of: (1) "critical habitat" to mean the specific areas within the geographic area occupied by an endangered or threatened species, at the time the species is listed, that contain such physical or biological features as are essential to the conservation of the species and the persistence of the species for at least seven human generations (with "human generation" meaning 20 years) and as may require special management considerations or protection; and (2) "endangered species" to mean any species that, if no action were taken under the Act, would be placed on an irreversible course to extinction within two human generations, with exceptions.

(Sec. 4) Modifies provisions regarding the determination of an endangered or threatened species to require the Secretary of the Interior (Secretary) to: (1) make such determination on the basis of the best scientific and commercial data available after requesting the Endangered Species Commission (established under this Act) to conduct a scientific review; and (2) give priority to species the conservation of which is most likely to reduce the need to list other species dependent on the same habitat, and consideration to species identified as a known source of pharmaceutical or agricultural biochemicals.

Requires the Secretary to designate, and make revisions regarding, critical habitat on the basis of the best new scientific data available. Specifies that: (1) the information shall include data documenting the biological vulnerability of, and threats to, the species or habitat of the species; and (2) failure to so document the information shall result in a presumption that the petition is inadequate.

Directs the Secretary, if such a petition is found to present the information, to: (1) provide a copy of the petition to the State having jurisdiction over the area in which the species is believed to occur; and (2) invite the determination of the State as to whether the petitioned action is warranted, promptly request the Commission to conduct a scientific review of any new information presented by the petition with respect to the status of the species, and promptly publish each finding made in the Federal Register.

Sets forth or modifies provisions regarding: (1) judicial review of such findings; (2) endangered species determinations with regard to foreign species; (3) notice of regulations (requiring a readily understandable, nontechnical explanation of the reasons for and purpose of the proposed regulation, an analysis concluding that the conservation benefit outweighs any negative conservation impact of the regulation, and a summary of the findings of the assessment team based on the required review); and (4) State review of such regulations (including scientific review of conflicts between the Secretary and the affected State).

Requires the Commission to conduct, at least once every five years, a review of all species included in a list of endangered or threatened species and to report the results to the Secretary. Sets forth procedures for changes in the status of a species.

Repeals provisions regarding the development and implementation of recovery plans by the Secretary for the conservation and survival of listed species.

(Sec. 5) Directs the Secretary, in cooperation with the States having jurisdiction over areas in which listed species are believed to occur, on the basis of the best scientific and commercial data available, and considering the options presented by the Commission, to develop and implement conservation plans to provide for the conservation of the species and the habitats on which the species depend, with exceptions.

Requires the Secretary, in developing a conservation objective and plan for a foreign species, to: (1) act in a manner consistent with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Convention); and (2) cooperate with and support any conservation strategy adopted for the species by each foreign nation in which the species occurs.

Directs the Secretary, Federal agencies, and the States to minimize adverse social and economic consequences and impacts on private property that may result from the implementation of conservation plans.

Sets forth provisions regarding: (1) the establishment of conservation objectives; (2) schedules for conservation plan preparation; (3) priorities of plans; (4) alternative strategies; (5) procedures for the preparation of proposed and final plans; (6) publication of final plans; and (7) participation by other persons in developing and implementing such plans.

Directs the Secretary to designate critical habitat that supports the conservation objective of the Secretary for the species and to revise a critical habitat designation. Permits the Secretary to elect not to designate any critical habitat for the species where the designation is not prudent or determinable. Requires that such designation or revision be made on the basis of the best scientific and commercial data available after taking into consideration the availability of substitute habitat in mitigation banks or from other sources and the economic or any other relevant impact.

Directs the Secretary to exclude any area from critical habitat for which the Secretary determines that the benefits of the exclusion outweigh the benefits of designating the area as part of the critical habitat, unless the Secretary determines, on the basis of the best scientific and commercial data available, that the failure to designate the area as critical habitat will result in the extinction of the species for which the habitat is designated.

Sets forth provisions regarding: (1) revision of critical habitat designation; (2) the effects of agency actions that are consistent with the conservation objective and plan; (3) alternative species protection; (4) interim management prior to publication of a final conservation plan or a conservation objective, the entering into of a cooperative management agreement, or the issuance of an incidental taking permit; (5) suspension of conservation plans or objectives; (6) reporting requirements; and (7) the standard of judicial review of agency decisions.

(Sec. 6) Directs the Secretary and the Secretary of Agriculture to encourage persons to apply to exchange lands, waters, or interests therein under their jurisdiction (lands) (other than units of the National Park System, the National Wilderness Preservation System, the National Wildlife Refuge System, the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, and the National Trails System) for lands that are not in Federal ownership and that are affected by the Act, provided that the lands to be exchanged are of approximately equal value. Sets forth provisions regarding: (1) appraisals; (2) environmental assessment; and (3) valuation.

(Sec. 7) Requires the Secretary to cooperate to the maximum extent practicable with the States and other non-Federal persons, including consulting as appropriate before seeking to acquire land for the purpose of conserving any endangered or threatened species.

Authorizes the Secretary to: (1) enter into cooperative management agreements (CMAs) with any State or group of States, political subdivision of a State, local government, or other non-Federal person for the management of a listed species, species proposed to be listed, or candidate species (i.e., species found warranted to be listed but precluded from listing because of pending proposals to list that are of a higher priority); and (2) designate any non-Federal person participating or assisting in the implementation of a CMA as a volunteer under the Fish and Wildlife Act of 1956.

Directs the Secretary to provide technical assistance for the development and implementation of a CMA with a non-Federal person. Exempts the preparation, approval, and entering into of a CMA from specified requirements of the Act and of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969.

Specifies that: (1) except under extraordinary circumstances (in which case the Secretary shall have the burden of demonstrating and clearly documenting the existence of such circumstances), no additional measures to minimize and mitigate impacts on a species that is a subject of a CMA shall be required of a non-Federal party to the agreement that is in compliance with the agreement; and (2) with respect to any species that is a subject of such a CMA, under no circumstances shall a non-Federal party in compliance with the CMA be required to make any additional payment for any purpose, or accept any additional restriction on any parcel of land available for development or land management under the CMA, without the consent of the non-Federal party.

Provides that a CMA shall remain in effect and shall not be required to be amended if a species to which the agreement does not apply is determined to be an endangered or threatened species.

Sets forth or revises provisions regarding: (1) violations of CMAs; (2) requirements governing acquisition of water; and (3) Federal reclamation projects and contracts.

Authorizes the Secretary to: (1) make grants to non-Federal persons, from appropriated funds, for the purpose of conserving, preserving, or improving habitat for an endangered or threatened species; and (2) enter into safe harbor agreements with non-Federal persons who own real property for the purpose of encouraging the voluntary management, restoration, or enhancement of non-Federal lands owned by such persons to conserve listed and candidate species.

Requires the Secretary: (1) at the request of a State, to delegate to the State the authority to develop and implement a conservation plan for a listed species unless the Secretary determines that the State lacks authority and capability to carry out the requirements of the Act; and (2) to monitor the actions of States in developing and implementing conservation plans.

(Sec. 8) Directs each Federal agency to ensure that any action authorized, funded, or carried out by the agency that affects any endangered or threatened species or designated critical habitat of the species is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of the species.

Sets forth provisions regarding: (1) Federal agency consultation with the Secretary regarding agency actions likely to significantly and adversely affect an endangered or threatened species and regarding guidance on the consistency of an agency action with the conservation plan or objective for, an incidental taking permit for, or a CMA concerning, the species; (2) consideration of information and other law; (3) actions exempt from consultation and conferencing; (4) actions not constituting takings; (5) the resolution of conflicts between the responsibilities of a Federal agency under the Act vis-a-vis any other law, treaty, or interstate compact; (6) the use of mitigation banks; (7) risk assessment; and (8) exemptions from the Act.

(Sec. 9) Directs the Secretary and the Secretary of State to act cooperatively with other nations in conserving wildlife. Prohibits such Secretaries, to the extent that the conservation programs of such nations are consistent with the Convention, from obstructing the programs of such nations unless the Secretary demonstrates good cause for the action based on adequate findings supported by substantial evidence.

(Sec. 10) Directs the Secretary to limit a finding under the Convention to the purpose of the importation. Bars the Secretary from: (1) duplicating the findings required to be made by the exporting nation that is a party to the Convention except for good cause based on adequate findings supported by substantial evidence; and (2) prohibiting any act that is permitted under the Convention in issuing protective regulations with respect to a foreign species. Sets forth restrictions regarding the publishing of proposed protective regulations.

(Sec. 11) Provides that an activity of a non-Federal person shall be deemed not to constitute a taking of a species if the activity: (1) is consistent with the applicable guidance of a conservation plan or objective; (2) complies with the terms and conditions of an incidental taking permit or a CMA; or (3) addresses a critical, imminent threat to public health or safety or a catastrophic natural event.

Specifies that provisions prohibiting importation shall not apply to a member of a threatened species: (1) taken for scientific collection, live export for captive breeding, sport hunting, or falconry in accordance with the laws of a foreign nation that is a party to the Convention; and (2) accompanied by an export permit issued by the nation or an equivalent document.

(Sec. 12) Authorizes the Secretary to permit specified activities, including: (1) the public display or exhibition of living wildlife in a manner that contributes to the education of the public about the ecological role and conservation needs of the affected species; (2) in the case of foreign species, acts that are consistent with the Convention and with conservation strategies adopted by the foreign nations responsible for the conservation of the species; and (3) acts necessary for captive propagation programs.

Sets forth or revises provisions regarding: (1) the use of mitigation banks; (2) the scope of permits; (3) environmental assessments; (4) limits on additional measures required to minimize and mitigate impacts on a species that is a subject of a permit where the permittee is in compliance with the permit; (5) interim permits; (6) permit revocation; and (7) voluntary consultation by non-Federal persons.

Authorizes the Secretary, after providing notice and opportunity for public hearing, to issue a general permit on a county, State, regional, or nationwide basis for any category of activities that may affect a listed species upon determining that activities in the category are similar in nature, will cause only minimal adverse effects on the species if performed separately, and will have only minimal cumulative adverse effects on the species generally.

Sets forth provisions regarding: (1) educational and propagation permits; (2) the taking of species for inherently limited uses; (3) multiple species non-Federal conservation plans; (4) wildlife bred in captivity; (5) recognition of captive propagation as a means of recovery; and (6) mitigation banks.

(Sec. 13) Directs the Secretary or the Secretary of the Treasury to pay reasonable and necessary costs incurred by any person in providing temporary care for any endangered or threatened fish, wildlife, or plant pending the disposition of any civil or criminal proceeding alleging a violation of the Act.

Places the burden of proof on the Secretary to demonstrate that a specimen belongs to a species that has been determined to be an endangered or threatened species under the Act or that is included in an Appendix to the Convention. Prohibits the Secretary from detaining a specimen for a period of longer than 30 days for identification purposes, unless the specimen has been substantially changed from the natural appearance of the specimen, in which case it may be retained for an additional 30 days. Requires the specimen to be released if it cannot be identified within that period.

Specifies that no refusal of entry, seizure of evidence, or other enforcement action may take place under the Act if the action is based solely on a notification under the Convention or on a resolution of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention.

Authorizes any person to: (1) commence a civil suit to remedy any violation of, or regulation issued under, the Act by the United States or any U.S. agency or official or to challenge the Act or a regulation issued thereunder or the implementation thereof; and (2) intervene as a matter of right in any suit brought under the Act that threatens to cause injury to, or relates to any injury sustained by, the person and grants such person the same right to present argument and to accept or reject potential settlements as the parties to the suit have.

(Sec. 14) Requires the Commission to review and report to the Secretary on species of plants that, as of the date of this section's enactment, are or may become endangered or threatened within any State and that are known to produce pharmaceutical or agricultural biochemicals.

(Sec. 15) Establishes the Endangered Species Commission. Requires the Commission to: (1) study the activities of the United States under laws and international conventions relating to endangered and threatened species, including the Convention and the Act; (2) make recommendations to, and consult with, the Secretary and other Federal officials concerning such measures as the Commission considers necessary or desirable for the protection and conservation of such species, including a range of options; and (3) conduct such scientific reviews and analyses as the Secretary requests or as are otherwise required to be conducted under this Act.

Directs the Commission, upon receipt of a request from the Secretary for a scientific review or assessment regarding such a species, to establish an assessment and planning team and, within 30 days, to establish and arrange for the provision of technical assistance to such a team to assist the Commission in making required assessments by providing it with the best scientific and commercial data available and data that have been peer reviewed and verified by field testing.

Sets forth provisions regarding: (1) the Commission's response to assessment and planning team recommendations; and (2) reporting requirements.

(Sec. 16) Directs the Secretary to provide 30 days' notice of any hearing or other public meeting at which public comment is accepted under the Act.

(Sec. 17) Requires the Secretary to: (1) balance achieving the conservation objective for a species and ensuring continuing economic growth, providing essential infrastructure, maintaining strong State and local tax bases, and protecting against the diminishment of the use and value of property; and (2) seek, along with the heads of all other Federal agencies and other Federal officials, to minimize the adverse impacts on the use and value of private property resulting from any requirements imposed on the property.

(Sec. 18) Directs the Secretary to: (1) identify methods of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) that may be used for rulemaking to develop standards, rules, and guidelines for the listing or monitoring of species, conservation planning, safe harbor agreements with non-Federal persons, and other specified purposes; and (2) develop and implement a pilot program for ADR to be used for such purposes as consistent with the Negotiated Rulemaking Act of 1990 and the Administrative Dispute Resolution Act.

Requires the Secretary to: (1) provide regular training for all employees involved in developing and implementing such program; and (2) evaluate the program and submit a report including recommendations for a permanent program to the Congress and the Administrative Conference of the United States.

(Sec. 19) Sets forth provisions regarding Federal cost-sharing requirements for conservation obligations.

(Sec. 20) Entitles a non-Federal property owner to receive compensation if a Federal agency takes action under the Act that results in a diminishment of value of any portion of the non-Federal property of the owner. Sets forth provisions regarding: (1) the amount of compensation, a duty of notice to owners, requests for compensation, offers by the Secretary, and responses by property owners; (2) arbitration; (3) civil actions; (4) the source of payment; (5) U.S. obligations to make payment subject to the availability of appropriations; and (6) administrative provisions.

(Sec. 21) Authorizes appropriations. Directs the Secretary to study potential revenue sources for a biodiversity trust fund to be used both for domestic endangered and threatened species protected under the Act and for foreign species subject to the Convention. Sets forth reporting requirements.

(Sec. 22) Sets: (1) priorities for the development, and a schedule for the adoption, of conservation plans for listed species without recovery plans; and (2) priorities and a schedule for revision of existing plans.

Prohibits the Secretary or the head of any other Federal agency from requiring any increase in any measurable criterion contained in a final recovery plan, or any site specific management action in addition to the criteria provided in a final recovery plan, until a conservation plan or conservation objective has been published.

Directs the Secretary, in conjunction with the issuance of a conservation plan or objective, to review and reissue certain written opinions of the Secretary relating to the affected species that were issued after January 1, 1995, under the Act.