OPENING STATEMENT OF SENATOR WAYNE ALLARD
SEPTEMBER 23, 1997
ON H.R. 1180 REFORM OF THE ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT

Thank you for having this hearing Mr. Chairman. While I applaud the efforts put in by you and Mr. Kempthorne on this issue, I have to admit that I am disappointed with the final product. As a Western member of the Committee I have to look for several items in any ESA reform that are crucial to my state. Most importantly, language which protects existing yields of water, limiting the scope of section 7 consultations, and protecting interstate compacts. Unfortunately, this legislation does not address these three concerns.

Addressing section 7 is very crucial to Colorado. In recent years attempts by the Fish & Wildlife Service to expand section 7 consultations from the discreet action under review to other existing activities is very disturbing and needs to be corrected. An example of why strong language is necessary occurred in Colorado in 1991. At that time the Denver Water Board proposed to add a "fuse plug" to the spillway that is designed to give way under certain catastrophic flood conditions. The installation required a section 404 permit from the corps and a section 7 was therefore required on the action.

When the Corps and Fish & Wildlife began their determination of the scope, their conclusion was that the addition of a fuse plug required consultation on the impact of the project on the depletion of the entire Colorado River. Because of this, the Denver Water Board canceled their proposed safety improvement. This legislation, in my view, would not stop that kind of abuse.

I'm also concerned that S. 1180 does not go far enough in protecting interstate compacts. Specifically I am concerned that section 3, Subsection (L), paragraph (3) does not provide enough protection to interstate ~~compact~~~s. Protecting compacts is crucial to my state and unless it can be fixed I will have a very difficult time coming around and supporting this legislation.

Mr. Chairman, thank you again for holding this hearing I look forward to today's testimony.