The Original Role of States in the Endangered Species Act
53 Idaho Law Review 385 (2017)
42 Pages Posted: 23 Feb 2018
Date Written: February 12, 2018
This article argues that we need to recover the original vision of the state role in the ESA. The Congress that enacted the ESA in 1973 expected that states would play a lead in conservation efforts because the states already had substantially more wildlife management expertise than the federal government. The federal role, as the Department of the Interior testified at the time, was “an overseeing operation” to ensure that states were fulfilling the purposes of the law. Perhaps more than anything else, the Congress that enacted the ESA sought to avoid jurisdictional infighting – but that is precisely what has happened in too many instances. This Article thus proposes to return to the original understanding of the state role in the ESA by further empowering state conservation efforts to avoid ESA listings, by resurrecting the cooperative agreements that Congress expected to play a major role in the implementation of the act, and by promoting additional funding and assistance to state wildlife managers who are seeking to achieve the goals of the ESA.
Keywords: Endangered Species Act, states, Congress, wildlife, cooperative federalism
JEL Classification: K32, K11
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation