Matt Dempsey 202-224-9797 Matthew_Dempsey@epw.senate
Washington D.C. – Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Environment & Public Works Committee, praised today’s decision by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to conduct a status review of the American Burying Beetle.
"Today’s announcement is long, long overdue but clearly the correct decision. Thanks to the considerable conservation efforts of Oklahoma’s oil and gas industry and development community, as well as Oklahoma farmers and ranchers, the Midwest populations of the beetle are flourishing to the point where I believe they no longer need the protection of the ESA," Senator Inhofe said.
The Endangered Species Act requires that the FWS conduct a status review at least once every 5 years to ensure listed species have the appropriate level of protection under the Act. The review will assess the American Burying Beetle to determine whether its status has changed since the time of its listing and whether it should be delisted or classified differently. The American Burying Beetle (ABB) was listed as an Endangered Species in 1989 based on museum and collector's data (not actual scientific study data). Since its listing, the ABB has been found in many areas and is much more widespread than originally thought.
"Throughout my tenure as a Senator and during my Chairmanship of the Environment and Public Works Committee, I have urged FWS to take a good look at the American Burying Beetle and consider a change in its protected status under the ESA. I look forward to working with the affected communities in Oklahoma and the US Fish and Wildlife Service to ensure that a complete, thorough and scientific evaluation of the beetle is done, " Senator Inhofe added.
As the Chairman of EPW, Senator Inhofe has held several hearings that have dealt with the ABB issue, including one in 2003 http://inhofe.senate.gov/pressapp/record.cfm?id=205668 and 2004 http://epw.senate.gov/hearing_statements.cfm?id=219635 Additionally, the ABB was a featured topic of Senator Inhofe in all of the hearings on the Endangered Species Act held in the 108th and 109th Congresses.