Thanks in part to efforts from the Southwestern Communities Coalition (SWCC) and its supporters, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed HB 2749 into law yesterday. The bill – sponsored by strong SWCC supporter and Arizona State Representative Gail Griffin – requires information collected by state agencies from a private landowner as part of an endangered species survey or other species research or conservation plan to be confidential and establishes civil penalties for violations.
“The passage of the bill is a good win for conservation and a good win for the state of Arizona and we’re extremely proud of the part we played in spearheading this new legislation,” said Brian Seasholes, executive director of the SWCC.
He continued, “Listing species that do not warrant protection is a big problem that imposes enormous costs on ranchers, farmers, home builders, developers and any American industry which requires use of land.”
Arizona Rep. Gail Griffin sponsored the House measure and said the bill would encourage private property owners to let surveyors onto their property, thereby generating much-needed data to prevent unwarranted species from being listed under the Endangered Species Act.
“We want to entice property owners to assist in counting any specific species that might be on their property,” Griffin said. “Currently … if I thought endangered species were on my property I’d have a ‘no trespassing’ sign on my property. So this is an enticement.”
“Of course, we’re all for the protection of any species that are truly endangered or facing extinction,” continued Seasholes. “but the information that is gathered on private lands and private property is just that – private.”
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