TOPEKA – (March 15, 2018) – In response to a lawsuit filed by Kansas and 19 other states, the federal government today agreed to reconsider Obama-era rules that restrict property owners’ use of private land, Attorney General Derek Schmidt said.
In 2016, federal agencies adopted two new rules that allowed the federal government to designate land as “critical habitat” for an endangered species, even if that species did not currently live on that land and even if the land did not possess the biological features necessary for the survival of the species. In November 2016, Alabama, along with 20 other states and four national trade associations filed a lawsuit, Alabama v. National Marine Fisheries Service, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama. The lawsuit, in which Kansas is one of the plaintiffs, challenged the two rules as an unlawful federal overreach. The federal agencies today agreed to submit revised rules for public review within 60 days. The states retained their ability to file another lawsuit if the new rules fail to eliminate the illegal regulatory overreach.
“Decisions regarding the management of private property and the preservation of habitat for endangered species are best made at the state and local level,” Schmidt said. “These top-down regulations from the Obama administration were not only burdensome on private property owners, but also exceeded the authority granted by the Endangered Species Act. I am encouraged that the Trump administration has agreed to reconsider these regulations and am hopeful this matter can be resolved through the normal regulatory process, not through litigation.”