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Summary of legislation: This legislation establishes the Coordinated State Endangered Species Response Committee (CSESRC) to oversee and guide the state's coordinated response to listings and potential listings of endangered species. This legislation authorizes the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) to apply for and hold federal permits relating to habitat conservation plans. This bill authorizes TPWD to enter into an agreement with the United States Department of the Interior or other federal agencies in connection with a habitat conservation plan, and candidate (species) conservation plans. This bill provides that TPWD create provisions relating to public notice and input consistent with the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) before engaging in an authorized habitation conservation activity. This bill establish a Habitat Protection Research Fund to be held by the Comptroller, outside the State Treasury and is funded by appropriations, interest earnings on the account, and gifts and grants.
Notes: Recent court cases involving the whooping crane, African antelopes, sagebrush lizards, and certain spiders in Central Texas have prompted conservationists to sue for accelerated species recognition and certain federal environmental defenses through the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. They contend that State and Local agreements for wildlife protection are not sufficient enough to protect and declare candidacy for certain species. This bill would effectually capitulate State and local authority to provide assessments and agreements for conservation. Additionally this bill would arbitrarily affect property values and prevent certain development and business practices. On private Land in Texas this means the owners will surrender certain Constitutionally protected “residence homestead” protections. This bill would prevent private people and businesses from free use of their land. This bill would substantially change the state's relalationship with federal ESA regulation by streamlining implementation via the TPWD. This legislation would have a significant impacts on basic land use and property rights. Vote NO on HB 3509.