Today, U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, made the following statement regarding a recently filed environmental lawsuit alleging that National Park Service (NPS) permitted water diversions through the Hetch-Hetchy Project are harming endangered fish species and is in violation of Endangered Species Act (ESA) and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The Hetch-Hetchy Project provides water to the city of San Francisco, Calif.

"The Administration's implementation of the Endangered Species Act is lopsided and inconsistent. It benefits their far-left environmental allies but harms average, everyday Americans who actually produce and make things," said Vitter. "This Administration has entered into sue-and-settle agreements to change the rules to place public and private lands under environmental lockdown. Instead of working to improve the ESA to protect both endangered animals and our economy, Senate Democrats have avoided having a real discussion about this outdated law."

On Monday, August 18, 2014, the Center for Environmental Science, Accuracy and Reliability (CESAR) filed a lawsuit against the NPS, Secretary Sally Jewell of the Department of Interior (Interior), and Rachel Jacobson, Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks, for allegedly violating the ESA in the Sacramento Delta and San Joaquin River in California. In the lawsuit, CESAR alleges that NPS-permitted water diversions are harming endangered fish species. Click here to read more.

Vitter has been concerned with the Administration's actions related to the Endangered Species Act and the varying impacts on federal and private lands, the economy, as well as threatened and endangered species. Earlier this year, Vitter questioned FWS Director Dan Ashe about the Administration's selective use of the consultation process. Click here to read an op-ed by Sen. Vitter regarding the Administration's abuse of the ESA that was published on the fortieth anniversary of it becoming law.

In addition, Senate Republicans have questioned the process by which the Administration has entered into sue-and-settle agreements that will lead to hundreds of additional species listings and the Administration's attempt to hide the true cost of those actions. Click here to read more.

To date, the EPW Committee under the leadership of Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) has not acted to improve the ESA and has not held any hearings on the issue during the 113th Congress.