Secretary of the Interior Kempthorne unveiled the Fish and Wildlife Service’s new “credit” and “banking” system for threatened and endangered species protections. The idea is that federal agencies will be allowed to take actions that inflict damage to protected species populations on federal land if they have accrued enough “credits” from conservation programs on private lands.
Secretary Kempthorne Announces New Conservation Mechanism for Threatened and Endangered Species – USFWS News Release 8/1/08
It seems to me listed species ought be afforded robust protections on federal lands and that FWS ought work with private property conservation anyway. Instead, conservation efforts with private property will be “banked” and allowed to roll back against public lands protections.
Offset programs like this can become very complicated obscuring/shuffling the verifiability of success – think Enron’s book-keeping practices. It will be interesting to see if the result of such obscurity is to increase deference to agency when making enforcement determinations – or maybe it’ll work.