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Kenneth Warren.

On July 25, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) published several proposed amendments to its regulations implementing the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Some of these changes, if adopted, would make it easier for public and private projects to proceed notwithstanding the risks they pose to endangered and threatened species. FWS is accepting comments on its proposed amendments until Sept. 24.

To place these proposals in context, some background is helpful. Congress enacted the ESA in 1973 to conserve endangered and threatened species and the ecosystems upon which they depend, and to satisfy certain treaties and conventions. An endangered species is any species that is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range. A threatened species is any species that is likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range.

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