The Endangered Species Act (ESA) in the 110th Congress: Conflicting Values and Difficult Choices Page: 4 of 28
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The Endangered Species Act
in the 110th Congress: Conflicting Values
and Difficult Choices
Most Recent Developments
On September 24, 2008, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public
Works reported two bills proposing to expand species eligible for assistance from the
Multinational Species Conservation Fund by creating a Great Cats and Rare Canids
Conservation Fund (H.R. 1464, amended) and a Crane Conservation Fund (H.R.
1771). On September 24, 2008, the House Committee on Natural Resources reported
(amended) H.R. 1497, amending the Lacey Act Amendments of 1981 to extend
protection to plants illegally harvested outside of the United States. On September
23, 2008, the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations reported S.Res. 598,
expressing the sense of the Senate regarding the need for the United States to lead
international efforts to assist developing nations in preventing the extinction of a
large portion of the world's plant and animal species. On September 16, 2008, the
Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources reported S. 3189 (amended),
amending P.L. 106-392 to extend the authorizations for the Upper Colorado and San
Juan River Basin endangered fish recovery programs.
Increasing numbers of animal and plant species face possible extinction.
Endangered and threatened species - and the law that protects them, the 1973
Endangered Species Act (ESA, 16 U.S.C. 1531, et seq.) - are controversial, in
part, because dwindling species are often harbingers of resource scarcity. The most
common cause of species' decline is habitat loss or alteration. Habitat loss occurs
due to development, changes in land management practices, competition from
invasive species, and other factors, nearly all related to economic, political, or social
ESA has been among the most contentious environmental laws, because of its
strict substantive provisions, which can affect the use of both federal and nonfederal
lands and resources. Congress faces the issue of how to balance these interests
(which may fall on various sides of any given species controversy) with the
protection of endangered and threatened species and, as stated in ESA, "the
For example, see CRS Report RL34326, Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF)
Drought: Federal Water Management Issues, by Nicole T. Carter, M. Lynne Corn, Amy
Abel, Stan Mark Kaplan, Eugene H. Buck, Cynthia Brougher, and Kristina Alexander.
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The Endangered Species Act (ESA) in the 110th Congress: Conflicting Values and Difficult Choices, report, October 8, 2008; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc806069/m1/4/?q=RL33779: accessed December 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.