The Endangered Species Act (ESA) should be modernized and updated after 30 years and have Congressional oversight on the social and economic cost of an ESA listing. The law should be both flexible and rational providing states and local governments a more significant role in ESA decisions.
The PPRC recommends:
- Limiting the definition of threatened and endangered “species” to those species which are biologically unique, excluding those that are only geographically isolated from other populations of the same species.
- Amending the act to ensure that the species will not be listed until a recovery plan is developed and appropriations are approved. ESA is about the recovery of a species, not only about preventing extinction.
- The federal government should be allowed more time to verify species that are being threatened to avoid costly lawsuits and unnecessary compensation.
- ESA decisions should be based on sound science and include a peer review of listing and recovery decisions.
- True scientific facts and field data should be weighed more heavily than computer modeling.
- Supporting fair compensation for private property owners when the ESA diminishes property values.