Political Influences on USFWS Listing Decisions under the ESA: Time to Rethink Priorities

By Lieben, Ivan J. | Environmental Law, Winter 1997 | Go to article overview

Political Influences on USFWS Listing Decisions under the ESA: Time to Rethink Priorities


Lieben, Ivan J., Environmental Law


Recently I read an account of a Los Angeles "Eco-Expo" last April, where children were invited to write down their answers to the basic question: "Why save endangered species?"

One child, Gabriel, answered, "Because God gave us animals."

Travis and Gina wrote, "Because we love them."

A third answered, "Because we'll be lonely without them."

Still another wrote, "Because they're a part of our life. If we didn't have them, it would not be a complete world. The Lord put them on earth to be enjoyed, not destroyed."(2)

--Bruce Babbitt, Secretary of the Department of the Interior

[O]ne of the most amazing things to me is that the Service continues to insist that the listing process is totally apolitical. At the same House hearing at which I testified, acting Director Rogers insisted, with a straight face, that political factors have no influence whatsoever.

It seems to me that the first necessary step in any reform [of the Endangered Species Act] is at least some effort to be truthful and honest with the public. No one who closely observes the listing process believes that politics are unrelated to listing decision[s], and when the Service makes these kinds of statements, it loses any credibility with conservation groups, legislators, and judges. It would be far preferable to have an honest admission that politics has an enormous influence on the process, and then we could get onto the critical debate of whether politics should influence ESA decisionmaking; how much; and at precisely what point in the process .... (3)

--Eric Glitzenstein, ESA Attorney

I. INTRODUCTION II. BACKGROUND

A. Endangered Species Act

B. 1983 USFWS Priority Guidelines

C. 1996 USFWS Priority Guidelines

D. Past Political Influences on USFWS Listing Activities

III. WHAT'S WRONG WITH RECENT USFWS LISTING ACTIVITIES

A. The Plight of the Imperiled Bull Trout, Canada Lynx, Barton Springs

Salamander, and Alabama Sturgeon

B. Mechanisms of Misapplication of the Law

1. Poorly Defined Priority Standards in the 1983 Guidelines Allow

the USFWS to Consider Political Factors

2. USFWS Avoidance of Emergency Listings

3. The FFA Settlement and Stipulation: Evidence that the USFWS

Has Slowed the Rate of Species Listings

4. USFWS Promulgation of the Possibly Illegal 1996 Guidelines

5. Improper Use of the Five Statutory Listing Criteria

C. USFWS Motive to Avoid Political Controversy IV. CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS: HOW TO TAKE THE POLITICS OUT OF

AGENCY LISTING DETERMINATIONS

A. USFWS Should Recognize that Politics Influences Its Listing

Decisions and Attempt to Limit the Impact of These Illegal

Considerations

B. USFWS Should Modify Its 1983 Priority Guidelines

1. Consolidate and Define Imminence and Magnitude of Threat

2. Ecosystem Factor

a. Keystone Species

b. Indicator Species

c. Species Located in Rare or At-Risk Ecosystems

d. Umbrella Species

C. USFWS Should Increase Number of Emergency Listings by Defining

Standard and Better Monitoring Candidate Species

D. USFWS Should Not Prioritize Listing Decisions by Activity Type's

E. USFWS Should Speed Up the Listing Rate by Requesting More Funds

for Listing Determinations

I. INTRODUCTION

Our planet is currently engulfed in a great extinction crisis caused by humankind's destructive handiwork.(4) Some estimates show that the planet might lose as much as fifty percent of all species within the next thirty years if humankind's relentless onslaught of the natural environment does not slow down.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Political Influences on USFWS Listing Decisions under the ESA: Time to Rethink Priorities
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.