Marbled Murrelet, photo from USFWS
The ESA is without a doubt the most powerful federal environmental statute. I know from personal experience as a former U.S. Senate staffer that it trumps every other law on the books, even U.S. obligations under international treaties. Only the U.S. Constitution is the higher law of the land. Given its breadth and reach, one of the great ironies of the law is that it is misnamed.
With apologies to professional conservation biologists, the ESA would really more appropriately be entitled “The Cool Animal Protection Act.” Biologists might more comfortably recognize the issue as the tyranny (or perhaps the budgetary gluttony) of charismatic megafauna.
To read the rest of Scott’s well-researched commentary, click here to go to the Conserve Fewell website. Nicely done, Scott.