Thursday, August 21, 2014
In response to a new federal government interpretation of the Endangered Species Act ("ESA"), Profs. John A. Vucetich (Michigan Technical University) and Michael Paul Nelson (Oregon State University) published an interesting critique on August 20, 2014, of how the ESA phrase "throughout all or a significant portion of its range" should be understood. In their view, the proposed new conservation approach by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service could result in isolated relict populations of once-widespread species instead of protection and restoration of species across their historical ranges. Vucetich and Nelson suggest that the new statutory interpretation "falls far short of the conservation aspirations the law once embodied." The ESA has long been beloved of the public, regardless of political stripes, so wise and effective implementation of its goals remains sound public policy.