Washington, D.C. — Some members of Congress are threatening to undermine the Endangered Species Act (ESA) with changes that could weaken protections for fish and wildlife, according to a new report from the Center for American Progress.
The report says that state and federal policymakers should instead focus on providing enough money to implement the ESA and conserve sensitive ecosystems so species will not become threatened in the first place.
In the current Congress, lawmakers have introduced at least 59 measures intended to undermine the ESA over concerns that it increases costs and causes delays in project development. CAP’s report analyzes data that show the consultations required by the ESA are often brief—a matter of weeks—and rarely delay projects.
The report also finds that tinkering with the ESA to delist species or circumvent sound science and conservation is a slippery slope—one that is more likely to endanger the law itself. The ESA has been a catalyst for innovation and collaboration that has helped both species conservation and commerce, the report says. One example is the success of the recent state-federal effort to avoid listing the greater sage-grouse as threatened or endangered.
Read the report: “Under Threat: The Endangered Species Act and the Plants and Wildlife It Protects” by Jim Lyons.
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