The Endangered Species Act is one of the nation’s most popular environmental laws. Any potential change to it generates public concern — and understandably so. The federal government recently announced new rules to implement the law. But many are wondering: How will these changes affect species conservation?
We should evaluate the rules by asking whether they weaken the law’s ability to prevent extinctions or improve its ability to promote the recovery of rare species. After all, the Endangered Species Act has achieved impressive success at preventing extinction, with 99 percent of protected species surviving today. We must maintain that success.
On the other hand, less than 3 percent of protected species have recovered and been delisted. In fact, as of 2010 — the last time the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reported trends to Congress — less than 10 percent of protected species were even improving. We can do better.
Read this entire piece in The Hill.