Wait for it


QUOTE “God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand tempests and floods. But he cannot save them from fools.” — John Muir


Nothing makes an anti-environmental politician in the House of Representatives look worse than a bunch of pesky facts that fly in the face of a bold statement like the one recently uttered by Doc Hastings, chairman of the Committee on Natural Resources. According to Forbes, Hastings claims the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is a failure. The magazine goes on to quote Rep.

Hastings as saying, “The purpose of the ESA is to recover endangered species — yet this is where the current law is failing — and failing badly. Of the species listed under the ESA in the past 38 years, only 20 have been declared recovered. That’s a 1 percent recovery rate.” But hold that thought.

The Center for Biological Diversity was published in a report this month titled “On Time, On Target: How the Endangered Species Act is Saving America’s Wildlife.”

According to the report’s authors, “To objectively test whether the Endangered Species Act is recovering species at a sufficient rate, we compared the actual recovery rate of 110 species with the projected recovery rate in their federal recovery plans. The species range over all 50 states, include all major taxonomic groups, and have a diversity of listing lengths. We found that the Endangered Species Act has a remarkably successful recovery rate: 90 percent of species are recovering at the rate specified by their federal recovery plan. On average, species recovered in 25 years, while their recovery plan predicted 23 years — a 91 percent timeli ness accomplishment.”

So it’s not that the act isn’t working, Rep. Hastings. It is simply that many species on the list haven’t yet had time to recover after being pushed to the brink of extinction. Some things like species recovery just don’t work on a two-year election cycle. Have a little patience.


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