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Last week the House Natural Resources Committee began examining critical habitat regulations released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Fisheries Service earlier this year.

Kyle Feldscher at the Washington Examiner reports that some House Republicans are concerned about the broad interpretation of “protected habitat” being pushed by the Obama Administration.

Earlier this year, the Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA’s Fisheries Service came up with new rules designating which areas of the country, both on land and at sea, are considered protected habitat for endangered species. Republicans believe the new designations are overly broad.

Michael Freeman, legislative counsel for the Republicans on the committee, wrote in a memo that the new rules will block off from energy production large areas that have not been used by protected species in decades, or ever.

“These regulatory changes by executive branch agencies usurp Congress’ legislative and constitutional authority and providing sweeping new authority not intended by Congress,” Freeman wrote.

As a part of the Endangered Species Act, each federal agency must work with the secretary of Interior to make sure it is not hurting any protected species or habitat. That designation can make areas off limits to energy production and other economic activity.

The February regulation redefined “geographical area occupied by the species” and “physical or biological features,” which House Republicans see as problematic.

Freeman wrote that the Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA can declare expansive areas around the habitat of an endangered species off limits to energy production and other economic activity, even if the species is not known to ever venture into that area.

Of course the federal bureaucrats—and particularly those in Obama’s Administration—are using the Endangered Species Act and any other law, policy, or rule they can find to further the War on the West. Cutting off productive use of land and forcing increased urbanization have long been the goals of those who would see most of the world closed off to humanity and relegated to an inaccessible wildlife preserve.

Radical environmentalists and anti-free market politicians are united in their ambition to ‘save the planet’ at the expense of humanity. Unless we stop them soon, it may be too late.