The Endangered Species Act Essay

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The Endangered Species Act


Long-term survival of a species depends on its ability to adapt to changing environmental conditions (Murphy, 1994). Genetic diversity within a species, which has taken 3.5 billion years to evolve, makes adaptations to these changing environments possible. Unfortunately, the rate of extinction of genetically diverse organisms is rapidly increasing, thus reducing this needed biodiversity, largely due to the human impacts of development and expansion. What was an average of one extinction per year before is now one extinction per hour and extinct species numbers are expected to reach approximately one million by the year 2000 (WWW site, Bio 65). As a result governmental and societal action must
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The penalties involved in violation of these laws include fines up to 100,000 dollars and one year in prison. Organizational violations include 200,000 dollar fines and confiscation of all equipment used (WWW site, ESA). Since its induction, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) has entered 967 species on its list and has 421 more labeled as possible candidates and 4,000 others as (species of concern (WWW site, What is..). Over the years, only 22 species have been removed with a third of them becoming extinct regardless, a third recovering fully, and a third put on mistakably (WWW site, What is..). In terms of the taking aspect of the law is where the controversy begins. The Takings Clause of the fifth amendment states, nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation (Pendley, 1995). This means that any endangered species on an owner's private land must be compensated for. Regrettably, the ESA of 1973 fell short of its high expectations and has completely failed up to this point from a multitude of discovered flaws in the authorization of the law from the start.

Problems with the ESA of 1973:

The problems which have arisen since 1973 seem to be endless. First of all, the time needed to put an endangered species on the list is much too long. By the time most species get on the list, they are on the brink of extinction. Second, private

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