Monday, January 13, 2014

Endangered Species Act - As Important As Ever

Peregrine falcon nest monitoring in Jersey City

A good opinion column "Endangered Species Act is as important as ever" by George Fenwick

...The Endangered Species Act protects plants and animals on the list by protecting their natural habitats. Sometimes, but not always, that process puts limits on proposals to develop certain portions of the landscape. It’s also a process that has helped prevent the extinction of 99 percent of the plants and animals the act has been used to protect, including irreplaceable but less charismatic species, such as the Okaloosa darter, the Maguire daisy and the Lake Erie water snake.

In other words, when this law is allowed to work as it was designed, it is remarkably effective. Unfortunately, the Endangered Species Act has been undercut for years by high-profile critics. Some of them blame the act (falsely) for larger economic problems. Some would gladly sacrifice rare species and their habitats in order to boost short-term profits.

Allies of these critics in the U.S. Congress have repeatedly slashed funding for the Endangered Species Act’s listing and enforcement process, which has been admirably carried out by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife and National Marine Fisheries services.

Under the Obama administration, problems linked to funding cuts have been
compounded by a series of controversial proposals for ESA listings. For various reasons, those proposals fail to protect species in desperate need of conservation measures, such as the lesser prairie chicken, streaked horned lark, western yellow-billed cuckoo, a distinct bi-state population of the greater sage grouse, and northern spotted owl...

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