The Endangered Species Act (ESA) has served as an important component of environmental protection for decades but like many environmental protections finds itself in danger of being dismantled in the current political environment. The National Audubon Society is running a campaign to defend the ESA. Their efforts include educating members of Congress and mobilizing activists, largely to correct popularly held myths about the ESA.
One such myth is that the ESA values animals over people. This simply is not true. The ESA requires that human concerns are always considered when placing a species on the list or when developing protection efforts.
Another myth is that the ESA hasn’t done much good. In fact, the ESA, according to the US Fish & Wildlife Service, has prevented the extinction of 99 of the species placed on the list.
There are also a variety of criticisms that the act intrudes upon private property and blocks activities and development projects on protected land. The reality is that with consultation from environmental agencies and sometimes with minor modifications, very few activities or projects are blocked by the act.
It is important that these myths are refuted and the ESA is recognized for what it is”an effective foundational component of environmental conservation.