Research Paper: Environmental Law

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ESA

Environmental law

Environmental law: The Endangered Species Act

The Endangered Species Act was passed in 1973 and was designed to help species in danger of becoming extinct as a result of "economic growth and development untempered by adequate concern and conservation" (ESA, 1973, Cornell). The Act only protects endangered and threatened species, not all wildlife. Endangerment is when a species is "in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range" while "threatened" means "a species is likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future. All species of plants and animals, except pest insects, are eligible for listing as endangered or threatened" (ESA, 2013, FWS). One or more of the following five criteria must be met for a species to be protected under the provisions of the ESA: the species is faced with present or threatened destruction of its habitat; there is overuse of its habitat or of the species for "commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes;" the species has exhibited a decline due to disease or predators; inadequacy of existing regulations to protect the species; and/or other natural factors (ESA, 1973, Cornell).

The 1973 ESA is a reformation of the Endangered Species Preservation Act of 1966. The Act arose out of the budding environmental and conservation movement of the time, and has remained virtually unchanged since, with only very minor amendments (History, 2013, FSW). The most significant change regarding the law has been in relation to costs: "Originally the ESA wasn't supposed to consider financial concerns, something even the Supreme Court agreed" but the law changed in 1978 when Congress demanded to know the costs of protecting specific species (Vinzant 2009). Before he left office, George Bush issued an order that "federal officials didn't have to bother to consult with scientists when they decided whether logging or mining would impact a species on the brink of extinction" but this provision was quickly overturned by President Obama when he assumed office (Vinzant 2009).

By 1988, "Congress was requiring the Fish and Wildlife Service to complete recovery plans for each species, including recovery times and costs" although a study in 2006 "found only 20 of 107 plans… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Environmental Law.  (2013, April 23).  Retrieved December 6, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/environmental-law/6081993

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"Environmental Law."  Essaytown.com.  April 23, 2013.  Accessed December 6, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/environmental-law/6081993.