Most Americans think the Endangered Species Act is outdated and needs to be revised, a survey by Morning Consult shows. The poll conducted in early August adds impetus to congressional efforts to overhaul the increasingly outdated 1970s-era statute.
The survey shows:
- 63 percent of Americans support modernizing the ESA;
- 62 of Americans believe the act should help with species recovery, as opposed to merely cataloguing changes in their populations;
- 69 percent of Americans want the federal government to offer resources to third parties to help species recovery; and
- 49 percent of Americans believe that state or local authorities, rather than the federal government, lead in recovery of endangered and threatened species. Only 31 percent of Americans favor the federal government taking the lead.
“The intent of the Endangered Species Act is inspiring, but results have been less so,” American Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman said. “Farmers, ranchers and environmentalists agree that we must save wildlife facing preventable extinction, but the current recovery rate of less than 2 percent shows the law is a failure.
“Today, many landowners hesitate to establish habitat that would help endangered species. That’s so because the law itself makes it impractical for them to use their land once they have made the effort to help in the first place. The ESA can and must be modernized to protect endangered species and respect private property rights. Neither agriculture nor the endangered species have time to wait.”