Modernizing the Endangered Species Act (ESA)
The Endangered Species Act (ESA) was enacted 40 years ago with the best of intentions. Its original goal: save species in danger of becoming extinct and help them recover to healthy population levels. All Americans overwhelmingly support these goals. Unfortunately, the recovery rate for these species is less than 1% under the Act. We want to help species recover so they can actually come off the ESA list.
Fringe environmental groups are fighting hard against any ESA modernization. The ESA is one of the best federal land use laws on the books, and has been abused by the radical environmental movement to drive their narrow vision of land use policies. You only have to look at the past 40 years since the enactment of the ESA to see what it has produced: the dramatic destruction of your property rights and the failure to recover species. The Act must be brought up to date to place greater emphasis on species recovery instead of bureaucratic listing actions. It must encourage the use of innovative approaches to increase species' populations.
Strengthening the Act should require better science to make policy decisions. This will enable the effective use of federal monies and time in restoring species populations. The final key to improving recovery rates is working in cooperation with conservation organizations and private landowners. By providing the tools necessary to enable private landowners and states to be partners in achieving the goals of the Act, the recovery of species will improve, along with the relationship between the people and their government.