The Threatened and Endangered Species Recovery Act of 2005

By James S. Burling
March 04, 2006
In its 32 years of existence, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) has not lived up to its billing as America’s “premier environmental law.” It has had little success at achieving its potential of conserving and recovering species. Unfortunately, it has been more successful at creating deep divisions between landowners and federal regulators. Of the 1,264 species listed under the act as of early 2005, only 10 domestic species have been recovered and delisted. The relationship between the ESA and those recoveries is doubtful, at best. Although there are those who claim great success for the ESA because fewer than 1% of listed species have actually gone extinct, that seems to be a rather defeatist benchmark. Considering the costs the ESA has imposed, one would hope for a more robust measure of success....