How Colorado took endangered species recovery into its own hands
Volume 37, No.1, Summer 2018
When the Endangered Species Act passed in 1973, few understood its ramifications. No one voted against the bill in the Senate, and only 12 representatives opposed it in the House. The bill encountered no organized opposition of any kind. It was barely covered in the national media.
But now, 45 years later, it’s hard to find a more controversial or more powerful environmental law. Depending on who you ask, the Endangered Species Act is either one of America’s greatest conservation successes or one of its most dismal failures. Its supporters point out that only 1 percent of the species listed under the act have gone extinct, while critics counter that less than 2 percent of listed species have recovered and been delisted. Regardless, no one would dispute the law’s potential to impose significant economic consequences and bring about costly litigation and political conflict.
This special issue of PERC Reports explores the challenges of species recovery—and how to provide incentives that can overcome those challenges. Doing so would enable us to achieve both of the law’s important goals: to prevent extinction and recover species. And that should be something we can all agree on.