Ch. 6: Discussion Questions for ESA: Evaluation and Politics
- Some people argue that the ESA is too ambitious in its goal to save every species. Do you agree? Why or why not? What species do you believe should receive priority for protection? Why?
- There is controversy over what criteria should be used to judge the success of the ESA. What are major criteria that have been used or proposed? Which of these criteria do you believe are most valid? Why?
- What are the “politics” of evaluating the ESA? What criteria do its critics emphasize? Its supporters? Why?
- There is disagreement over whether a species should be protected by the ESA if a substantial population of them exists in other countries. What position do you take on this controversy? Why?
- Some critics of the ESA argue that more control over decisions concerning the protection of the species should be given to the states in which these species exist. Do you agree? Discuss.
- Review the history of the controversy over protections for the sage-grouse both in this book and other documents that you are able to access such as:
Wildlife Management Institute. Montana adopts sage grouse strategy. Outdoor News Bulletin [Internet]. 2014 Sep 15 [cited 2016 Apr 19];68(9); Available from: www.wildlifemanagementinstitute.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=768%3Amontana-adopts-sagegrouse-conservation-strategy&Itemid=95
Thuermer, Jr., Angus M. Conservation groups give BLM an “F” for sage grouse protection. [Internet]. Wyofile; 2014 [cited 2014 Sep 16]; Available from: http://wyofile.com/angus_thuermer/conservation-groups-give-blm-f-sage-grouse-protection/
Williams, Ted. Two flat tires on the sage grouse express. High Country News [Internet]. 2014 Sep 9 [cited 2014 Sep 16]; Available from: www.hcn.org/articles/two-flat-tires-on-the-sagegrouse-Express
Wildlife Management Institute. International sage-grouse forum held in Salt Lake. Outdoor
News Bulletin [Internet]. 2014 Nov 17 [cited 2014 Nov 18]; 69(11); Available from: http://
U.S. Bureau of Land Management. Historic conservation campaign protects greater sagegrouse [Internet]. 2015 [cited 2016 Apr 19]; Available from: www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/info/newsroom/2015/september/nr_09_22_2015.html
Gilman, Sarah. Compromise on Colorado’s Roan plateau. High Country News [Internet].2014 Nov 22 [cited 2014 Nov 25]; Available from: www.hcn.org/articles/compromise-oncolorados-roan-plateau?utm_source=wcn1&utm_medium=email
Then discuss the following points: (1) Who were the major actors in the controversy over the sage-grouse? Which actors were part of the wildlife conservation coalition? What actors were part of the coalition that was concerned about the protections for the grouse? What disagreements occurred within these coalitions? Why? (2) What were the major compromises that each side acceded to? (3) Do you approve of the agreement reached? How would you improve upon it if that were possible?
7. The USFWS has moved to an emphasis on “preemptive” approaches to protecting species. What does this preemptive approach refer to? How effective do you think this approach will be? What are the major threats to its success?
8. Critics complain about the costs that ESA imposes. What do these costs typically consist of? What has been the response of the USFWS to these criticisms? Do you think these responses are adequate? Overall, do you think the benefits of the ESA outweigh the costs? Why or why not?
9. Many ESA supporters are concerned about whether there will be adequate monitoring of habitat conservation plans. Review the publications below (and any other pertinent ones that you are able to locate and read) and then discuss how monitoring is of implementation is being done currently and what steps you believe should be taken to improve this monitoring:
Root, Jay. Oil lobbyists oversee protection of threatened lizard. The Texas Tribune [Internet].
2013 Apr 24 [cited 2013 Jun 8]; Available from: www.texastribune.org/2013/04/24/oillobbyists-
Denny, Jemma. The Texas conservation plan: The good, the bad and the lizard. EcoSystem Marketplace [Internet]. 2012 Jun 18 [cited 2013 Jun 7]; Available from: www.ecosystemmarketplace.com/pages/dynamic/article.page.php?page_id=9100§ion=news_articles&eod=
Defenders of Wildlife. ESA policy white paper series: Dunes sagebrush lizard: The cautionary
tale of a candidate [Internet]. 2013 [cited 2013 Sep 16]; Available from: www.defenders.org/
McClure, Robert, Stiffler, Lisa. Flaws in habitat conservation plans threaten scores of species. Seattle Post-Intelligencer [Internet]. 2005 May 3 [cited 2016 Apr 18]; Available from:
Kareiva, Peter, Adelman, Sandy, Doak, Daniel, Elderd, Bret, Groom, Martha, Hoekstra, Jonathan et al. Using science in habitat conservation plans [Internet]. 1999 [cited 2013 Jun13]; Available from: www.nceas.ucsb.edu/files/Kareiva%20Using%20science%20in%20habi
10. There have been many proposals, especially by conservative critics of the ESA, to reform this Act. Review these criticisms including the following legislative proposals list below and then discuss your response to the following question: Should the ESA be reformed? If so, what changes are needed? Why? Be specific about your proposed changes.
Here are examples of proposals to change the Act:
Proposal to amend the Endangered Species Act of 1973 to require review of the economic cost of adding a species to the list of endangered species or threatened species, and for other purposes:
A proposal by Sen. Rand Paul concerning the ESA: