Monday, December 28, 2009

Happy Anniversary ESA!

Today is the 36th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act, a benchmark piece of legislation that has protected dozens of species from extinction. Signed, improbably, by Richard Nixon, it has added layers of legal protection to about 1900 species.

The WildEarth Guardians have launched a new campaign:
[E]nvironmentalists have pledged to file petitions and lawsuits over the next 36 days to persuade the Obama administration to make protection of endangered plants and animals a priority.
Unfortunately, it looks like an overhaul of the ESA may be a priority for the Obama Administration:
The Fish and Wildlife Service is considering wide-ranging revisions to the 1973 Endangered Species Act, the agency director said in an interview last week.

"There is no question there are places we can make improvements in the way we do business," the service director, Sam Hamilton, said. "We are taking a hard look ... to see regulatory-wise, administrative-wise, are there ways to improve?"
This is worrisome because Sam Hamilton has an ugly track record.
"No matter which way you turn, somebody is not going to be happy," Hamilton said. "Our focus is on trying to recover endangered species; our goal is to try to get them off the list. So as long as we keep our eye on that goal and work on definitions and work on policy to further that goal, we'll be in good shape."
Unfortunately, there is more than one way to get species off the list. Extinction is a sure-fire technique; premature removals works, and never listing a species is another. It seems that the Obama Administration is willing to try them all.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My New Year's resolutions include a resolution to continue to apply pressure on the Obama administration to "do the right thing" with regard to endangered species. I invite other readers of this blog to join me.