Michael J. Bean, longtime head of Environmental Defense Fund’s wildlife program and author of the classic treatise The Evolution of National Wildlife Law, has been named counselor to Tom Strickland, Assistant Secretary of Interior for Fish, Wildlife, and Parks. Bean will provide advice on endangered species and other wildlife policy issues.
This appointment is very good news. Strickland doesn’t have a lot of experience in the ESA trenches. Bean more than makes up for that. He’s been involved essentially from the law’s inception in trying to make it work. In particular, Bean was instrumental in the development of Safe Harbor Agreements, which encourage landowners to help endangered species recover by limiting the regulatory risks of doing so. Bean’s advice will help Interior get the most out of the ESA without unnecessarily alienating landowners or the regulated community.