Single-Minded Determination: The Problems with the Endangered Species Act and the Consensus on Fixing Species Conservation Law Through a Focus on Ecosystems and Biodiversity
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The Endangered Species Act (ESA), enacted in 1973, is widely considered to be the pinnacle of American conservationist environmental law. By many people’s calculations, it has been extremely successful in achieving its goal of conserving endangered and threatened species in the face of both private and public development projects and other threats to species survival. This success rate is commonly attributed to the fact that the listing of a species is accompanied by a bevy of restrictions and other requirements imposed by the ESA, including a ban on the “taking” of a listed species. Indeed, the recovery of a number of species in the past forty years can be attributed to the protection of individual species under the ESA.