The Endangered Species Act - History Of Species Protection, The Endangered Species Act Of 1973 (esa)—a Landmark Protection
extinction laws enacted numerous
The Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA) is generally considered one of the most far-reaching laws ever enacted by any nation for the preservation of wildlife. The passage of the ESA resulted from alarm at the decline of numerous species worldwide, as well as from recognition of the importance of preserving species diversity. The purpose of the ESA is to identify species that are either endangered—at risk of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of their range—or threatened—likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future. With the exception of recognized insect pests, all animals and plants are eligible for listing under the ESA. Listed species are protected without regard to either commercial or sport value.
For its supporters, the Endangered Species Act has proved to be one of the most effective conservation laws ever enacted. Many Americans believe that the ESA has saved numerous species from extinction. However, critics charge that the ESA puts too many restrictions on land and water development projects and is too expensive for the results that it achieves.