Members of the Congressional Western Caucus in the House of Representatives unveiled an Endangered Species Act (ESA) modernization package that will provide important reforms to some of the problematic components of the Act. The ESA needs to be modernized in order to better protect species, and to treat property owners, states, and localities as partners rather than obstacles in species rehabilitation. These modernization goals are practical, attainable, and will improve the ESA’s ability to preserve our nation’s plants and animals.
The ESA falls short of achieving its intended goal, with less than 3 percent of species being recovered and removed from the list in its nearly 45-year history. These problems are compounded by attacks on property rights through federal restrictions on land use, and the ESA’s one-size-fits-all approach to species protection. These bills are a targeted approach to fixing some of these problems and encourage greater accountability, transparency and stakeholder participation in the program.