Endangered Species Act
What is the Endangered Species Act and Its Impact on Producers?
- Enacted in 1973, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) was intended to prevent the extinction of species by recovering them and removing them from the threatened and endangered species list.
- Two decades have passed since ESA was last reauthorized. Despite its worthy goal, ESA, as it stands now, is failing - evidenced by the fact that less than two percent of listed species have been declared recovered since ESA was enacted.
- Livestock producers have had to bear the brunt of severe land and resource restrictions and countless lawsuits, brought by environmental extremists and funded by taxpayer dollars.
Vicious Cycle of Litigation
- Instead of using ESA to protect species, extreme environmental groups use it as a weapon against farmers and ranchers.
- The future of ESA litigation looks bleak. The agencies have entered a settlement agreement with two extreme environmental groups that will require them to make decisions, not by professionals in the field.
- The settlement will cost taxpayers. Just processing the initial paperwork for all 1,053 species will cost more than $200,000,000.
What are the Grazing Benefits to Species Protection and Recovery?
- Wildlife seek out and thrive in the shelter provided by natural ranch features, like diverse plant cover and windbreaks as opposed to row crops and bare landscapes.
- Well-managed grazing improves wildlife habitat by reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfire, helping to prevent the spread of noxious weeds and encouraging healthy root systems and robust forage growth.
- We believe such efforts should be rewarded and ranchers should not be fearful of finding sensitive species on the land they manage and own.
What does the Livestock Industry's Recommend for ESA Reform?
NCBA, Public Lands Council and the livestock industry have submitted their recommendations for ESA reform to the House Natural Resources Committee, calling for more rigorous data quality requirements; a better mechanism to delist species; more local government involvement in the listing and recovery process; and great focus on working with landowners and operators to incentivize species recovery and protection plans.