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Tag Archives: ESA

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  • 2 Jun 2010
    Craig Collins

    Endangered Species Act: Noah’s Ark or The Titanic?

    In 1973, Congress passed the Endangered Species Act, a program designed to provide for the conservation of plants and animals on the endangered species list. The law made it illegal to harm any of the listed species and legislated against the degradation of their habitat. More recently, the government began looking into using the ESA as an avenue of recouping the vast losses caused by the BP oil spill. As they launch a criminal investigation into whether BP was criminally negligent, the ESA is one of the legal means with which they might be able to subvert the current cap on damages. While this may be beneficial in the short term, Craig Collins, author of Toxic Loopholes: Failures and Future Prospects for Environmental Law, looks at loopholes in the ESA itself to argue for a fundamental realignment of our approach towards how we legislate environmental protection. In the age-old battle between the environment and the economy, Collins asks us to reevaluate our priorities. -------- Endangered Species Act: Noah’s Ark or Titanic? By Craig Collins, Ph.D. California State University East Bay, Environmental Law & Policy The Endangered Species Act is the equivalent of a tiny bandage on a gaping wound. When Congress passed the ESA back in 1973, it was responding to intense public pressure to save a growing number of species from extinction. Groups like Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and the World Wildlife Fund raised public awareness and sympathy by showcasing the plight of a small group of cute or charismatic creatures—like pandas, bald eagles and blue whales—whose survival was threatened by human encroachment. This campaign was so effective that the media still portrays the struggle to preserve biodiversity as an altruistic endeavor pressed upon society by tree-hugger environmentalists trying to rescue wildlife from the brink of extinction.

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