The ESA: Taking Noah's Ark Into a Brave New World

April 7, 2015 7:02 PM

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The Endangered Species Act (ESA), created in 1973 to prevent extinction, is one of the most powerful environmental laws on Earth. The U.S. federal government designed it to function like Noah's Ark: you bring aboard species that risk extinction, a process called listing, and then use the best science to save them.

In the past 42 years we've put over 2,000 species of animals and plants on the ESA ark; only 30 have succumbed to extinction. However, some experts protest defining ESA success in terms of species still on the list rather than by the number of species that have recovered. And some argue that today t...

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