This Compendium explores the major features and controversies of the
Endangered Species Act (ESA). It covers areas such as funding and exemptions.
It demonstrates how science has been used in selected cases and offers a
discussion of the nature and role of science in general, and its role in the
ESDA process in particular, together with general and agency information
quality requirements and policies, and a review of how the courts have viewed
agency use of science.
Detailed coverage is provided the polar bear, Columbia Basin salmon and
steelhead trout, Pacific salmon and steelhead trout, bald eagle, gray wolves,
sage grouse, and whale populations.
The ESA has been among the most contentious environmental laws because of its
strict substantive provisions. Increasing numbers of animal and plant species
face possible extinction. These species are valued for ecological, educational,
scientific, recreational, spiritual, aesthetic, and (in some cases) economic
reasons. Some contend that because the loss of species could have predictable
and unpredictable social and economic effects, all species should be saved. Others
disagree, and hold that the cost to society to save species is concrete and
large, while the benefits are vague. Protection of endangered and threatened
species—and the law that protects them, the 1973 Endangered Species Act (ESA,
16 U.S.C. §§1531-1543)—are controversial, in part, because dwindling species
are often indicators of competition for scarce resources.
Date of Report: November 19, 2012
Number of Pages: 262 Order Number: C-12018 Price: $59.95
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