Critics say Obama lagging on endangered species

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






  1. mikepost Avatar

    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. WM Avatar

    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.

    1. jon Avatar

      I would like to see some money being used for wolverines.

  3. Alan Gregory Avatar

    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.

    1. jon Avatar

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


Ken Cole is a 5th generation Idahoan, an avid fly fisherman, wildlife enthusiast, and photographer. He is the interim Idaho Director for Western Watersheds Project.

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Ken Cole