H.R. 4348 would void three regulations related to the Endangered Species Act (ESA) that were issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in 2019. Among other changes, those regulations:
Clarified the criteria for delisting a species under the ESA,
Changed the process for how federal agencies consult with USFWS and NOAA before starting a project that could affect a listed species, and
Rescinded certain protections automatically applied to species listed as threatened.
CBO expects that implementing H.R. 4348 would not significantly affect the workload of USFWS or NOAA. Based on the costs of similar tasks, we estimate that any costs to issue new regulations or guidance under the bill would be insignificant; any spending would be subject to the availability of appropriated funds.
Enacting H.R. 4348 could increase civil and criminal penalties under the ESA (which are recorded as revenues) and the associated direct spending of those penalties. CBO expects that additional violations of the ESA would occur infrequently and we thus estimate that the net reduction in the deficit under the bill would be insignificant over the 2020-2030 period.