Research Proposal: US Endangered Species Act

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Endangered Species Act

US Endangered Species Act: An Annotated Bibliography

Preserving our biological heritage in an important issue for all of humanity. For various reasons many species of plants and animals are in danger of extinction (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, SEC 2, 1973). These plants and animals serve many purposes in our world. They are important for the beauty that they add to our world, are of ecological purpose. They are educational, historical, recreational, and many are of scientific value (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, SEC 2, 1973). The plants and animals that inhabit the landscape are of national and global importance. Therefore, the U.S., along with other nations through the use of treaties, has pledged to attempt to preserve the species that are, or may become in the future, threatened and endangered.

The issue of wildlife preservation has many stakeholders, some of which are on different sides of the issue. Every category of stakeholder has a different concern regarding wildlife preservation efforts, and not all of them are on the side of the wildlife. Of course, the American people represent the largest group of stakeholders, and they have much to lose if their wildlife is no longer a part of their national heritage. However, many of them must give up luxuries or make lifestyle changes on a daily basis in order to preserve habitats and waterways.

The second major stakeholder are those who must give up, or dramatically alter their way of life, such as ranchers, manufacturers, and those in agriculture. These entities have just as much to lose in the threatened species as the rest of the country. However, they have much to lose, for the sake of the species as well. In some cases, they may go out of business for the sake of an endangered species. Often, these stakeholders place their own interests first and concerns over wildlife second. It is not that they do not care about the environment; they must place their own livelihood ahead of other issues.

The third major stakeholders are wildlife organizations, such as the World Wildlife Federation, Green Peace, and other groups concerned with conservation. These groups often play an active role in helping to increase wildlife numbers. They also actively lobby to stop or control activities that threaten wildlife. They place the interests of the wildlife over any other concerns, such as manufacturing and mining operations. They are stiffly opposed to these activities but also spend much needed time with their animals and attempts to bring them back from the brink.

The fourth group of stakeholder includes policy makers and political leaders. They have the most difficult task, because they must weigh both sides of the issue and attempt to create a compromise that will satisfy both opposing sides of the issue. They must devise legislation that satisfies the interests of special interest groups who represent big business and environmental lobbyists. This research will explore their attempts to meet the needs of big business, while continuing to search for new ways to resolve current issues.

Every region in the United States has its own unique biomes and ecological conditions that exist. This makes the habitat and reasons for species decline different in every geographic region of the U.S. For instance, Florida residents have a primary concern with species loss in the Everglades, which contributes to the fresh water supply in the region. Loss of this important ecosystem could mean a major loss of drinking water for the state of Florida.

These concerns are different from ecological concerns in other portions of the United States. For instance, residents in the Appalachian Mountains are largely concerned with the environmental damage caused by mountaintop coal mining and disposal of waste products from these operations. Oceanside regions of the U.S. are concerned with problems associated with loss of marine life. Loss of marine life, such as shrimp, mussels, and fish can mean a major economic loss for those that depend on harvest of these species to make a living. City dwellers are concerned with the environmental hazards of carbon monoxide buildup and other pollutants. Persons living in the middle portions of the United States are concerned with soil erosion, herbicide and pesticide runoff, and water shortages due to agricultural activities.

Each region of the United States has its own unique set of environmental concerns. They are not only concerned with their local problems, but how these smaller problems contribute to a much larger problem on a global scale. All of these problems are unique on a regional level, but they are interconnected on a much larger scale. The solution to global problems will require attention to the individual problems that exist on a local level.

Meeting the requirements of the U.S. Endangered Species Act places a burden on many industries that must make major changes to the way that they do business. However, if measures are not taken to resolve the environmental issues that we face today, regardless of the inconvenience that it causes, we stand to face much larger problems in the future. The requirements of the Endangered Species Act are forward looking, with sights on the future, rather than the immediate needs. This act considers the good of all, not just the interests of a few large and powerful individuals. This research supports the Environmental Species Act and the principles behind it. The following will review existing literature regarding both sides of the Environmental Species Act.

Annotated Bibliography

Babbit v. Sweet Home Chapt. Comms. For Ore. (94-859), 515 U.S. 687 (1995). Cornell University Law School. Retrieved 5 December 2008 at http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/94-859.ZO.html

This court case examined whether the Endangered Species Act applied to habitat modifications on private property that would result in the destruction of listed species. The case is presented in its entirety. The case arose when it was found that the red cockaded woodpecker, northern spotted owl, were nesting in important timber needed for logging. The result of this case was that private landowners could not harm the habitat that an endangered species needs for survival, even if it does not result in direct bodily harm to the species. This decision clarified that the terms of the Endangered Species Act apply to all citizens, not just a select few.

Benson, R. (2008). Dams, Duties, and Discretion: Bureau of Reclamation Water Project Operations and the Endangered Species Act. Columbia Journal of Environmental Law. 33 (1). Retrieved 5 December 2008 at http://www.columbia.edu/cu/cjel/33_1_files/benson_abstract.html

TVA v. Hill established that ESA was clearly in favor of the species being protected, taking precedence over all other concerns. It allowed for no exceptions. However, it took different action when confronted with the NAHC v. Defenders of Wildlife in 2007. This case is still pending and set precedent in future decisions regarding similar situations. The problem is over water usage, in an area already plagued by water issues. This case will have an impact on the interpretation of the ESA in the future.

Buck, E. (2007). Polar Bears: Listing Under the Endangered Species Act. CRS Report for Congress. 25 January 2007. Retrieved 5 December 2008 from https://www.policyarchive.org/bitstream/handle/10207/4428/RS22582_20070125.pdf?sequence=1

In acknowledgement of increasing danger to polar bear habitat, it was proposed that polar bears be listed under the ESA. The primary threats to the polar bears are melting ice, contaminants and hunting for sustenance and sport. Concerns over the listing included economic concerns, largely restricted to Alaskan citizens. This article presented both sides of the issue and was targeted towards policy makers as background information. It might be noted that at the time of the article, the issues were unresolved. Since that time, Polar Bears have been listed.

Ferraro, P. McIntosh, C., & Ospina, M. (2005). The Effectiveness of Listing under the U.S. Endangered Species Act: An econometric analysis using matching methods. In Press. Retrieved 5 December 2008 at http://www.aere.org/meetings/0506workshop_Effectiveness_of_Listing_Under.pdf

This study investigated how the selection process has changed over time. It identifies the effects of the time listed on the species in question. The study used regression analysis to demonstrate that those that were listed earlier show the greatest rate of recovery. It also found that differences exist according to the amount of funding that they receive. This study concluded that listing and funding together result in the greatest chances for species recovery under the act. This study included an incomplete data set, therefore, could be considered a draft copy. This study focused on the development of methodology, rather than the conclusions that were drawn. It uses a pre-treatment/post-treatment comparison for the observed species. The key strength of this study is in the development of reliable testing methods for endangered species.

General Accounting Office (2002). Endangered Species Program: Information on How Funds Are Allocated and What Activities Are Emphasized. Report to the Chairman, Committee on Government Reform, House of Representatives. Report # GAO-02-581. Retrieved 5 December at http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d02581.pdf

This report by the General Accounting Office discloses how funds from the Endangered Species Act are used. This study concludes that a heavy workload and lack of resources has an… [END OF PREVIEW]

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