TPPF Files Lawsuit to Delist Golden-Cheeked Warbler from the Endangered Species Act

Defends Texas' right to land management

Contact: Brittany Eck
(512) 463-5708
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PRESS RELEASE — Jun 05, 2017

AUSTIN — AUSTIN - Today, the Texas Public Policy Foundation filed a lawsuit to delist the golden-cheeked warbler from the endangered species list on behalf of the Texas General Land Office.

"Leaving a species on the endangered list after its recovery is not only ineffective, it's irresponsible," said Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush. "The restoration of the golden-cheeked warbler population is a success story worth celebrating by removing it from the endangered list and restoring the rights of Texas landowners to effectively manage our own properties."

As Texas Land Commissioner, Bush oversees investments, including more than 13 million acres of state lands, which earn billions of dollars for Texas schoolchildren. The population of the golden-cheeked warbler population is now 19 times greater than estimated when the species was first listed.

"The golden-cheeked warbler is a recovered species and should no longer be regulated by the federal government under the Endangered Species Act," said Robert Henneke, general counsel and director of the Center for the American Future at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. "As the purpose for listing the species has been accomplished, respect for private property rights demands the very language of the act be followed in delisting the warbler from further regulation."  

Ted Hadzi-Antich, senior attorney in the Center for the American Future at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, stressed the importance of limiting the Endangered Species Act to its intended purpose.

"The Fish and Wildlife Service should not use the Endangered Species Act to protect individual species without considering the impacts on the overall human environment," said Hadzi-Antich. "Otherwise, the act becomes a general, federal land use planning tool that effectively keeps humans out of the environment. Congress never intended that result." 

Erin Wilcox, attorney for Center for the American Future at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, asserted that continuing to protect the golden-cheeked warbler could negatively affect other species.

"The best, most up-to-date science shows that the warbler is out of danger," said Wilcox. "Now it's time for the federal government to celebrate that victory and direct resources within its constitutional authority to species that are truly endangered and need protection, not double down on outdated data that has been proven wrong. 


Commissioner Bush reiterated the importance of environmental stewardship that is managed close to home.

"Texans have a strong tradition of land conservation," said Commissioner Bush. "Texas ranchers, homeowners, and other landowners are in a much better position to protect these environments than federal bureaucrats in DC." 


To view the lawsuit and associated documents in full, please visit


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