The Endangered Species Act was passed in a bipartisan manner in 1973 to protect species at risk of extinction. Although authorization for the law expired in 1992, it continues to be implemented. Unfortunately, over the past 40 years, the ESA has become highly contentious, political, and litigious, pitting against each other those who should be working toward a common goal. Today’s ESA is used to control land and water far more than it is to successfully recover species. Of the nearly 2000 species that have been placed on the ESA, only a handful have actually been recovered.
I believe that the ESA needs to be brought into the 21st century if it is ever going to work as Congress originally intended. As a member of the House Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, which oversees funding for the Fish and Wildlife Service, one of the agencies tasked with implementing the ESA, as well as land management agencies like the BLM and Forest Service, I am working to bring stakeholders to the table to modernize the ESA.