1993 Scorecard Vote
Congress passed the Endangered Species Act in 1973 to protect, conserve, and restore animal and plant species listed as endangered or threatened, and the ecosystems upon which they depend. For several reasons, however, the act has so far failed to protect hundreds of species from the threat of human-caused extinction.
In the United States, federal agencies reduce habitat and species numbers by their own actions, such as building dams and highways, but they usually stop short of extinction; not so overseas. Typically when the Bureau of Reclamation designs dams overseas, it waives the biological assessment and consultative process that might uncover species meant to be protected by the law. Additionally, the Endangered Species Act is grossly underfunded; therefore, even if a species is listed as threatened or endangered, it may take 10 years or more to develop a recovery plan due to lack of funds. Those charged with implementing the act have failed to heed its admonition to protect the ecosystems upon which species depend.
Environment and Public Works Committee Chair Max Baucus (D-MT) has introduced S. 921, the Endangered Species Act Amendments of 1993, to correct many of these problems and reauthorize spending at higher levels to implement the ESA more fully. His bill would strengthen the act by: a) requiring that recovery plans be created in cooperation with state agencies, based on the best scientific information available, within 18 months of an animal or plant's addition to the list; b) prohibiting throughout the world U.S. government actions that jeopardize species; and c) requiring federal expenditures and programs to be assessed for their impact on listed species, and candidates for listing.
The League of Conservation Voters considers cosponsorship of S. 921 to be an important pro-environmental action. So far, 24 senators have signed on as cosponsors.