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NCBA hopes to see changes to Endangered Species Act

Photo courtesy of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA)

The number of endangered species is far fewer than on this side of the Rocky Mountains than to the west. But the changes offered by the Trump Administration to reduce the number of listed species as threatened or endangered is significant for the whole country.

The western cattle industry faces many challenges with grazing on land that may be habitat for a recipient of protection from the Endangered Species Act.

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The Trump Administration announced recently that it will be working to pass some new revisions and updates for the Endangered Species Act, which could potentially hold some positive outcomes for American beef producers across the country who are at times faced with limitations in their operations due to restrictions within this legislation.

Kevin Kester, a California rancher and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association president, says with a few minor changes, the list could be brought up to speed with modern times, in a way that would truly benefit both the natural and business environment of America. Kester shared those thoughts with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network farm director Ron Hays during his recent visit to the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association’s 66th Annual Convention and Trade Show.

“NCBA has been working behind the scenes for many months now on the modernization and introduction of legislation to modernize the Endangered Species Act,” Kester said. “It’s been woefully behind the times for 20 years now with no action on it. So, we’re strongly behind the efforts of the Senate, Senator Barrasso, as well as the Administration to get this thing over the finish line sometime here in the future.”

Kester contends the changes being proposed will essentially be injecting a little common sense into the law that has unnecessarily hindered producers for years. Many of the species under the Act’s protection have recovered since they first appeared on the list and deserve to be removed. Doing that would reduce the body of restrictions being enforced. As this process moves forward, though, Kester warns that there will likely be some pushback from radical environmental groups armed with false claims that any changes made will bring the ultimate destruction to a fragile environment.

“Nothing could be farther from the truth, and I hope people won’t be fooled by the rhetoric that comes out of some groups saying differently,” Kester said, while also mentioning his intention to continue working on other environmental issues with the EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler.

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