Saving endangered species: 5 essential reads
Posted by admin on 13th August 2019
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The Trump administration has announced rule changes that alter how it will enforce the 1973 Endangered Species Act, which protects threatened and endangered species and their habitats. Among these changes, officials can now consider potential costs in deciding whether to list a species. The new policies will make it easier to delist species, and are likely to shrink areas set aside as critical habitat to help species recover.

These five articles from The Conversation’s archives describe public perceptions of the Endangered Species Act and the challenges of saving species on the edge.

1. Americans support protecting endangered species

Critics of the Endangered Species Act say the law is too bureaucratic and costly to private interests, and that states should have a bigger role. But when Ohio State University’s Jeremy Bruskotter and Ramiro Berardo and Michigan Technological University’s John Vucetich reviewed 20 years of data on public views of the law, they found that over that time, roughly 80% of Americans consistently supported it.

Notably, while liberals strongly favored protecting endangered species, nearly 75% of conservatives did so as well. In a 2015 survey, more than 70% of hunters, farmers and ranchers supported the Endangered Species Act.

Why, then, are critics of the law so determined to weaken it? The authors point to research showing that “policy outcomes in America are heavily influenced by ‘economic elites’ and business interests who … have greater clout with, and access to, policymakers” than average voters.

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