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Letter: Huggins wrong; Endangered Species Act has worked

Published January 3, 2014 1:01 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Missing from Laura E. Huggins' op-ed ("Time to move beyond ESA to save species and economic interests," Opinion, Dec. 30) was evidence to support her primary assertion — that the Endangered Species Act fails to recover species.

Huggins' misleading assertion that the act is a failure because only 1 percent of species have been removed from the endangered list is a conservative invention designed to divert attention away from scientific research that shows quite the opposite: The act has put hundreds of species it protects on schedule to meet federal recovery targets.

Asserting otherwise is akin to suggesting that anyone under a doctor's care should be recovered today — regardless of the nature of their illness or the prescribed length of their treatment regime.

The fact is, the act — which turned 40 on Dec. 28 — has prevented the extinction of 99 percent of the more the 1,500 plants and animals it protects, in the process preserving the irreplaceable forests, waterways and ecosystems we all share.

As a result, the act continues to help us balance our short-term economic needs with the long-term environmental and economic concerns that are in the best interest of us all.

Noah Greenwald, M.S.

Endangered Species Director

Center for Biological Diversity

Portland, Ore.