The Endangered Species Act became law 50 years ago today. President Richard Nixon said this in his signing statement:
Nothing is more priceless and more worthy of preservation than the rich array of animal life with which our country has been blessed.
We could not agree more. Thanks to the Endangered Species Act, we have been able to save grizzly bears, gray wolves, humpback whales, black-footed ferrets, and scores of other species. Without this law, our oceans, lands, and skies would be less rich with life. And our own lives would be emptier for it. Thankfully, Congress and the Nixon Administration had the foresight to act to protect plants, fish, and wildlife.
Today, the Endangered Species Act is itself in peril. The Trump Administration made a series of changes to the way the law is enforced–weakening it and making it more difficult to apply. The Biden Administration has been slow and incomplete in reversing these changes. And Congress has repeatedly taken aim at the law.
The Endangered Species Act is the worldwide benchmark by which other nations measure their conservation efforts. It is 99 percent effective at its job of stopping extinction. It enjoys broad bipartisan support. Few laws can boast the track record that it has.
A recent U.N. report found that our natural world is declining at rates never before seen. By its measure, around 1 million animal and plant species are now threatened with extinction, many within decades. The Endangered Species Act is the solution. But it must be intact and it must be enforced and applied.
Your tax-deductible year-end gift will keep the Endangered Species Coalition–the only grassroots organization in the country exclusively focused on the protection of endangered species–fighting to defend this vital and powerful conservation tool. Please support our work today.