The Competitive Enterprise Institute and Pacific Legal Foundation invite you to join for a panel discussion on
The Constitutional Limits of the Endangered Species Act

Tuesday, June 2, 2015
11:45 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Capitol Visitor’s Center, Room SVC 203-02
(lunch will be provided)

Opening Remarks:

U.S. Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah)
Sponsor of S. 1142, the Native Species Protection Act

U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah)
Chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources

Panel Discussion Featuring:

Jonathan Wood
Pacific Legal Foundation Attorney for People for the Ethical Treatment of Property Owners

Jason Rylander
Senior Staff Attorney, Defenders of Wildlife

Rob Gordon
Senior Advisor for Endangered Species, House Natural Resources Committee


The Endangered Species Act (ESA) was well intended but has a questionable track record of success. Among other issues, state and local officials argue that their efforts to protect species are undermined by federal regulations and national control, even for species found in only one State. In what may be a landmark case, a federal district judge in Utah recently ruled in favor of a challenge by People for the Ethical Treatment of Property Owners (PETPO), holding that the federal government has no constitutional power to regulate private activities affecting the Utah prairie dog on non-federal property because the species does not have a substantial effect on interstate commerce. The United States has appealed to the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, with support from environmental groups, including those represented by panelist Jason Rylander. They argue that the ESA is constitutional as currently administered. Senator Mike Lee disagrees and has introduced the Native Species Protection Act (S. 1142) that would clarify that the ESA does not regulate non-commercial species found entirely within a single State. What limits does the Constitution place on federal regulations under the ESA? Should Congress resolve that issue instead of the courts? Would endangered species be better protected or worse off if PETPO prevails in court or S. 1142 is enacted? Please join us to ask your questions as well.


Space (and lunch) is limited, so we ask everyone to please RSVP.

Visitor Center rules also require us to provide the names of those without Capitol credentials.

RSVP to Kate Pomeroy at [email protected] or call (202) 465-8733.

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