Integrating Esa Goals into a Larger Context: The Lesson of Animas-La Plata
Posted: 22 Jan 2002
The process by which the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service examines whether proposed federal projects satisfy the Endangered Species Act gives the Service considerable power to influence proposed projects. Using the Animas La Plata water project as a case study, however, Hannah Gosnell has suggested that the Fish & Wildlife Service's institutional limitations reduce its ability to shape federal projects to conform with species protection needs. This author disagrees. The Fish and Wildlife Service can have a profound impact on federal projects through the Section 7 consultation process by identifying issues and species needs that can trigger a serious review of project alternatives. In the case of Animas-La Plata, the Service's 1991 biological review led to a complete reexamination of the proposed project and a fundamental alteration of the nature and scope of the project in a way that satisfied the Endangered Species Act and other policy imperatives.
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