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by danielle
on January 20, 2014 at 2:03 PM
Moyle says the ESA sets a high standard for preventing extinctions, but what would be more interesting is his perspective on whether the standard is high enough, too high or just right.  
 
That's something that many people have an opinion on, but Moyle is in a rare position to have an informed viewpoint.
by John Stumbos
on January 22, 2014 at 8:44 AM
Danielle,  
 
I contacted Professor Moyle about your comment. Here is his response:  
 
The standard set by the ESA is a minimum standard: no extinction. But while we Americans seem to like the idea of the ESA, because it protects noble creatures like the bald eagle, we also make it difficult for the ESA to work effectively. The agencies in charge of listing species and enforcing the act are greatly understaffed and they are expected to adhere to extremely high standards of information for each listing, greatly limiting what they can do. It is astonishing that more species have not gone extinct since the ESA was created but this record is not likely to last long, as rapid environmental change overwhelms the ability of the agencies to keep up with the declining biota. It would be ideal if we could do more to prevent species from even reaching the point where the ESA kicks in but programs that would create such ecosystem protection projects are an anathema in this era of budget cuts that hit environmental agencies especially hard.
 
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