House Call Shortly after Hurricane Katrina's devastating tear through the Gulf states, the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity convened a hearing on emergency housing needs in the storm's wake. NAHB president Dave Wilson gave testimony and proposed several steps to address the immediate crisis and the long-term reconstruction of housing. Among other things, Wilson recommended that Congress:
Partial Reform In late September, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation incorporating many reforms to the Endangered Species Act (ESA). At press time, the Senate had not introduced companion legislation. Among other provisions, H.R. 3824, the Threatened and Endangered Species Recovery Act, would:
Bye-Bye Birdie? Two years after a federal court ruled that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's (FWS) listing of the cactus ferruginous pygmy owl under the Endangered Species Act was illegal, the FWS has proposed removing the bird from the endangered species list. The proposed rule would also render moot a proposal, never finalized, to set aside 1.2 million acres in Southern Arizona as pygmy owl habitat.
In 2003, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided unanimously that the FWS's pygmy owl listing was arbitrary and capricious. The court sided with the NAHB, the Southern Arizona HBA, and the HBA of Central Arizona, finding that the FWS did not articulate a rational basis for listing the bird, given that it was known to exist in far greater numbers in Mexico. Surveys conducted by Arizona officials, most recently in 2002, detected 18 pygmy owls in the state.