The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Noah Greenwald, (503) 484-7495

Report Outlines Top Ways Obama Administration Should Strengthen Endangered Species Act

20 Recommendations Will Ensure Species’ Recovery, Address Climate Change, Provide Protections for All Plants, Animals


The Center for Biological Diversity released a new report today outlining the best ways to ensure that plants and animals protected under the Endangered Species Act get the help they need and that's required by law. The report, "A Future for All: A Blueprint for Strengthening the Endangered Species Act," includes 20 important policy recommendations for the Obama administration to improve implementation of the Endangered Species Act.

The proposals range from addressing global warming and safeguarding critical habitat to protecting species from harm and fully funding efforts to protect them from extinction.

"The bald eagle, peregrine falcon and American alligator are just a few of the species that have rebounded and recovered under the Endangered Species Act, and hundreds more are on their way," said Noah Greenwald, endangered species program director at the Center and author of the report. "Although the Endangered Species Act has been an undeniable success, when it comes to carrying it out there's plenty of room for improvement."

Today's report follows an announcement earlier this year that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service are developing new regulations for the Endangered Species Act to ensure they are "up-to-date, clear, and effective." So far, details of the changes have yet to be released. "A Future for All" outlines some of the most pressing recommendations for implementing the Act.

The Endangered Species Act has been under attack by Republicans in Congress, who have questioned the science behind protections for individual species and in some cases moved to block funding for protecting species.

"Efforts by Republicans in Congress to raise questions about the science behind protecting endangered species are an obvious smokescreen for their frequent opposition to species protection in general," said Greenwald. "The science behind endangered species protections is sound. Implementing the recommendations in our report would mean more species would see recovery and our land and water would be healthier."

Among the report's recommendations:

  • Increase funding requests to Congress to ensure the program to protect species under the Act has sufficient funds.
  • Revise regulations for listing species to limit delay of protection for species designated as "warranted but precluded" to no more than three years.
  • Develop a plan for designating critical habitat for all listed species within the next 10 years.
  • Require that recovery plans for protected species be developed within three years of listing and that recovery-plan goals be met prior to a species being downlisted or delisted.

  • Identify all listed and candidate species threatened by climate change, reexamine these species' status, and implement changes to critical habitats, recovery plans and consultation requirements based upon this new information.
  • Require consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for all federal projects that appreciably contribute to global warming and thereby affect listed species.
  • For each listed species, promulgate guidelines defining activities that constitute "take" -- the harming of specific individuals or species' habitats -- and develop procedures to track cumulative incidental harm.

At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature — to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters and climate that species need to survive.

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