Endangered Species Act Pros and Cons

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In 1973, the Endangered Species Act was signed into law so that animals species that were threatened or endangered in their habitats or range could be protected. This 1973 law served as an update to a 1969 law that initially encouraged the same process. With over 2,000 species on the list, 600 of them being foreign in nature instead of domestic, the goal is simple: to make sure that these animals do not go extinct.

There are some positives to the Endangered Species Act and its enforcement, but some may see some negatives with this law as well. Is this law something that we should have on the books? Or has its time come and gone?

The Pros of the Endangered Species Act

1. It helps to protect the environment.
Having a law in place that forces people to be aware of the environment helps to naturally protect it. Laws have been changed so that ecosystems can be effectively protected and this has allowed a number of threatened and endangered species to recover their numbers despite sometimes being at the brink of extinction.

2. It creates a sense of order to the environment.
Some people have no problems hunting down and killing an endangered species for sometimes amusement purposes. Others may not use the environment at all and stay at home all day. What the Endangered Species Act does is provide everyone the same fair chances to utilize the environment while still providing a sense of order so that threatened animals can be protected.

3. It provides for a sense of personal ownership.
Everyone in the US has some skin in the game of protecting the environment thanks to this law. In practical terms, it means that people can go to natural areas, see native wildlife in their habitat, and be able to take some pride in the fact that they helped to make that happen.

The Cons of the Endangered Species Act

1. It interferes with economic benefits that are sometimes needed.
The Endangered Species Act puts a higher priority on the life of animals in their natural habitat than immediate needs that humans may have. If a community needs affordable housing developed in an empty plot of land, that development can’t happen if an endangered species is present.

2. There are no variations or options that can be taken.
There is very little flexibility built into the Endangered Species Act. It is a world where people can either have or have not. This means that it can impact more than just local businesses and populations. It could impact tourism, land management, and even the lives of the animals that are being protected.

3. It costs a lot of money.
From the land surveys to the care costs that are required for threatened and endangered species, there is a lot of taxpayer money getting funneled into projects that really have no economic benefit. In practical terms, instead of local dollars being worth double, Endangered Species Act dollars that are spent have very little economic impact.

Is is the right thing to do to take care of and manage species populations? By weighing the pros and cons of the Endangered Species Act, we can determine what the right path may be.