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First, the local community has to be involved and active. Once they learn of a listing proposal, interested parties should meet early and often and share the work of navigating the regulatory maze. Communities should build coalitions and prepare for long battles, and our task force is ready to help them.

Second, fight bad or incomplete data with scientific research. We all need to push for reforms to this cumbersome and ineffective law. Sen. John Cornyn, Texas Republican, is expected to file legislation this week that aims to do just that. His bill directly targets the lawsuits driven by megapetitions that clog the regulatory process and give activist groups unwarranted authority over the results. It would enhance the abilities of local governments, landowners and other stakeholders to intervene in these lawsuits, and give state and county governments the opportunity to block settlements that fail to take local interests into account and are offered without their consent. It also would ban the use of taxpayer dollars to fund the most problematic kind of Endangered Species Act lawsuits.

Ultimately, however, we should move this regulatory power back to the state and local governments, which are closest to the land, care most about it and best know the costs of any regulation that limit its use.

Solutions that involve the community can succeed where top-down bureaucratic edicts fail. It’s time to work together to craft solutions we can all live with.

Susan Combs is the Texas comptroller of public accounts.