The media has given a lot of ink to a self-serving “report” put out by the Center for Biological Diversity that purports to demonstrate “90 percent of species are recovering at the rate specified by their federal recovery plan.”
The problem is, it ain’t so.
The “report” does demonstrate the authors’ bias however. And one need look no further than the numbers. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1,391 species are listed as threatened or endangered in the United States. Of those listings, 1,138 have recovery plans. But the CBD “report” cherry picked the data relying on less than 10 percent of the active recovery plans in the U.S.:
“To objectively test whether the Endangered Species Act is recovering species at a sufficient rate, we compared the actual recovery rate of 110 species with the projected recovery rate in their federal recovery plans.”
An indication of bias in the “report” is the fact the authors assume that the increase in population numbers for any species is the result of the ESA alone, and not the result of other causes like changes in land use, private conservation efforts, other laws, and even errors in the original listings. Of the 52 species delisted since the inception of the act, 18 were removed because of “data error” which includes a determination that there were simply greater populations of the species than known at the time of listing. In other words, they shouldn’t have been listed in the first place.
Read the entire Pacific Legal Foundation post by Reed Hopper