Warranted but precluded (by politics)
Has America’s most popular environmental law become incapable of protecting our most vulnerable fellow species?

With the number of species becoming imperiled increasing as population, consumption, climate change grows, the Obama Administration is providing legal protection to fewer species using the excuse that there are not enough resources. This can only lead to more extinctions of species that are facing bigger and bigger threats. It is time to increase the amount of resources for species protection before these irreparable losses occur.

Nearly two years after taking office, Obama has provided Endangered Species Act protection to 51 plants and animals, an average of 25 a year. By comparison, the Clinton administration protected an average of 65 species per year, and the Bush administration listed about eight species a year.

Critics say Obama lagging on endangered species.
The Associated Press

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About The Author

Ken Cole

Ken Cole, Buffalo Field Campaign‘s Executive Director, is a 5th generation Idahoan, an avid fly fisherman, wildlife enthusiast, and photographer. He was formerly the Idaho Director for Western Watersheds Project.

5 Responses to Critics say Obama lagging on endangered species

  1. avatar mikepost says:

    Given that we have spent almost $50 million in direct public expeditures on the condor (USWS data) it would seem that some kind of cost/benefit analysis has to be done regarding listings. That is on top of god-only-knows what kind of indirect societal costs are incurred. I am not in favor of gutting the ESA but there has to be some rational thought beyond just listing everything that is declining. Extinction is, after all, part of the legitimate evalutionary process. On top of that, current discord among biologists about the whole issue of what are legitimate definitions of species, subspecies, area-specific population differences, etc does not leave one comfortable about blind listing based upon numbers alone.

    In the beginning, it was easy. There was lots of “low hanging fruit” that seemed so obvois for listing but things have gotten much more debatable and esoteric these days and as a result there is a reduced political will and public support for ESA. The pendulum never stops in the middle…

  2. avatar WM says:

    Maybe the critics are right, but CBD has never been one of my favorite environmental orgs., along with DOW and animal rights group HSUS.

    On the other hand, pissing away millions on wolves – think the cost of the science, the administration and the litigation expenses for the government and the plaintiff groups if they win- at the funding expense, and less publicity for other species that really are in trouble might be part of the explanation.

  3. avatar Alan Gregory says:

    It remains, however, human actions that are most responsible for the ESA listing of any species, plant or animal. This fact still gathers little to no attention from the media.

    • avatar jon says:

      I agree, we probabaly wouldn’t have even needed the esa if humans were taught to respect and care about wildlife.

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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