WASHINGTON (CN) – A seven year battle over the Endangered Species Act in the U.S. District Court of Oregon has turned on phrases whose definitions are different depending on which agency has written a document.
To help alleviate the problem, the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service, the two agencies most active in interpreting the act, plan to publish definitions jointly. The agencies seek public input on their understanding of terms, which has been issued as a proposed regulation.
By using varied interpretations of phrases such as “cumulative effects” and “effects of an action,” interest groups have been able to show conflicts in government agency reports on the effect hydropower may have on endangered salmon species. In Oregon, the outcome affects the future of the Federal Columbia River Power System.
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