An Endangered Species Act for the 21st Century

By Markwayne Mullin
U.S. Congressman, 2nd District

Farmers, ranchers, and small businesses are the backbone of Oklahoma’s economy. Unfortunately, they are all too familiar with the negative effects of the federal government’s heavy-handed regulations and complicated red tape. For many of them, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is one of many sets of federal regulations causing more harm than good. Make no mistake, Oklahomans understand the value of nature, but we are certainly better stewards of our own backyard than a bureaucrat in Washington, D.C.

The Endangered Species Act of 1973 was passed due to concerns about preserving and maintaining endangered animal populations. However, the concerns from 45 years ago that drove the legislation are not the same concerns that exist today. Today, the ESA looks a lot less like a preservation plan and a lot more like blatant government overreach. While the ESA has helped keep certain species from complete extinction, it has not allowed those species to recover to sustainable population levels. When it does recover, states are not notified of the change—ignoring all conservation efforts that they have made.


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