The ESA was enacted in 1973 to protect animal and plant species at risk of extinction due to habitat changes or loss. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) – under the U.S. Department of Commerce – and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) – under the U.S. Department of Interior – are the federal agencies that administer ESA protection and grant “endangered” or “threatened” listings to species.

The ESA is intended to conserve the habitats and to foster the recovery of threatened or endangered animal and plant species across the United States based on sound data and science. And though the ESA was never intended to be used by environmental organizations as a litigation tool, it has since been abused in order to halt development or destroy economic growth and job creation while diverting millions of taxpayer dollars away from species recovery.

Over the past few years, there have been a number of efforts in Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Oklahoma and elsewhere to list species as endangered and set hundreds of thousands of acres of land off-limits to development. And a new, stronger wave of threats is expected.

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