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The Endangered Species Act



How it works


Recovery Plans and Delisting

Critical Habitat

Habitat Conservation Plans

Controversy: Is the ESA Effective?

Criticism of the ESA--from both sides

Is the ESA biologically unsound?

Private landowners


Links and References



The Endangered Species Act

On March 27, 2007, reported they had obtained an internal 117 page draft from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service regarding intended adjustments to the Endangered Species Act (ESA). "The proposed changes [outlined in the document] fundamentally gut the intent of the Endangered Species Act," speculated Jan Hasselman, an attorney with Earthjustice in Seattle who helped Salon interpret the proposal. 

Most notable among those changes, one article would give individual state governors the opportunity and funding to take over "virtually every aspect of the act from the federal government." It would also go so far as to give governors the right to decide which plants and animals get protection, which can't be good news for critters in states where their protection is controversial (like the Mexican gray wolf in Arizona and the Northern Rockies wolf in Yellowstone National Park).

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has gone to great lengths to keep the document 
classified. "Please Keep close hold for now. Dale [Hall, director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service] does not want this stuff leaking out to stir up discontent based on speculation," read the internal email sent in March. But Chris Tollefson, a spokesperson for the Service, says that when the draft is ready, they will communicate with the public and subject it to a formal review process.


"The proposed changes limit the number of species that can be protected and curtail the acres of wildlife habitat to be preserved.  It shifts authority to enforce the act from the federal government to the states, and it dilutes legal barriers that protect habitat from sprawl, logging or mining."


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