The Endangered Species Act and Texas: A Look Ahead

The federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) provides an antiquated and hidebound statutory framework for protecting endangered species. It is economically harmful without substantial environmental benefit. Between now and 2018, the federal government will decide whether to list 1,000 new species under the ESA, including 100 new species around Texas. If properly executed, Texas has the capacity to effectively stem the tide of the nearly 100 pending ESA listings, blunting the impact on the state’s social and economic life. To do this, however, the state cannot afford to rely on any single strategy. Pursuing a decentralized approach will allow the nimbleness needed to protect any genuinely threatened wildlife, private property rights, and the economic engine that remains vital to the state’s prosperity.

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