Reauthorization of the Endangered Species Act

WHEREAS, the Endangered Species Act is regarded as our most significant and powerful environmental law and strongest legal tool for conserving national and global biodiversity; and

WHEREAS, the Endangered Species Act expired over 2 years ago on 31 October 1992; and

WHEREAS, The American Society of Mammalogists in 1992 passed a resolution urging Congress and the President to reauthorize the Endangered Species Act; and

WHEREAS, since that time the Act has been threatened by proposed amendments that would seriously reduce its effectiveness to preserve and protect endangered and threatened organisms and their habitats; and

WHEREAS, the well-publicized criticisms of the Endangered Species Act are not inherent in the Act, but in the implementation of its provisions or in failure to support or enforce laws or policies that would prevent species from becoming endangered or threatened; and

WHEREAS, controversy engendered by the Act should not obscure the objective of protecting species and their habitats from the threat of extinction; and

WHEREAS, the Endangered Species Act has been successful in addressing its complex objectives in spite of small budgets and inconsistent support from successive administrations; and

WHEREAS, the Endangered Species Act has provided incentives for private companies and individuals to experiment with resource management and land use practices that address human interests while preserving species and their habitats; and

WHEREAS, the flexibility and efficiency of the Endangered Species Act have been greatly improved by recent proposals such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service interagency policy reforms of July 1994, and the President's Forest Plan for the Pacific Northwest of February 1995; and

WHEREAS, biodiversity, which is protected by the Endangered Species Act, has great value to human welfare; and

WHEREAS, the Congress of the United States, in authoring this Act in 1973 and in amending it in 1988, provided a clear mandate to protect declining species; and

WHEREAS, recent Congressional actions have undermined the Endangered Species Act by imposing a moratorium on the listing of any new species or designation of critical habitat, rescinding financial support from the endangered species program, and prohibiting further appropriations until the Act is reauthorized;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that The American Society of Mammalogists, at their 75th annual meeting at the University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont, 20-24 June 1995, urges the prompt reauthorization of a strong, comprehensive, and effective Endangered Species Act and calls on Congress to provide increased funding to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service for implementation of the Endangered Species Act.