Poll shows broad support for Endangered Species Act reform

Nearly two-thirds of Americans support modernizing ESA and believe the act should help with species recovery.

Most Americans think the Endangered Species Act is outdated and needs to be revised, a survey by Morning Consult shows. The American Farm Bureau said the poll conducted in early August “adds impetus to congressional efforts to overhaul the increasingly outdated 1970s-era statute.”

The survey shows that 63% of Americans support modernizing the ESA. It also found that 62% of Americans believe the act should help with species recovery, as opposed to merely cataloguing changes in their populations.  

“The intent of the Endangered Species Act is inspiring, but results have been less so,” American Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman said. “Farmers, ranchers and environmentalists agree that we must save wildlife facing preventable extinction, but the current recovery rate of less than 2% shows the law is a failure.”

The survey also found that 69% of Americans want the federal government to offer resources to third parties to help species recovery; and 49% of Americans believe that state or local authorities, rather than the federal government, lead in recovery of endangered and threatened species. Only 31% of Americans favor the federal government taking the lead.

“Today, many landowners hesitate to establish habitat that would help endangered species. That’s so because the law itself makes it impractical for them to use their land once they have made the effort to help in the first place. The ESA can and must be modernized to protect endangered species and respect private property rights. Neither agriculture nor the endangered species have time to wait.”

Read more on the study here.

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