Policy Statements » Letters from the President:

The Ecological Society of America Comments on H.R. 1662, November 7, 2003

The Ecological Society of America is the nation’s primary professional organization of ecologists, representing more than 8,000 scientists in the United States and around the world. Founded in 1915, the Ecological Society of America is a scientific, non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the ecological sciences.

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) is a powerful conservation tool, offering critical protections for our biological heritage. The Ecological Society of America is committed to the goals of the ESA and to providing the best available science for implementation of the Act. The Ecological Society of America position paper titled, “Strengthening the Use of Science in Achieving the Goals of the Endangered Species Act: An Assessment by the Ecological Society of America”, published in the peer-reviewed journal Ecological Applications, outlined the steps the Society believes would best serve to achieve this goal.

The Ecological Society of America supports the reexamination of the ESA and the use of science within the Act. We hope to be of assistance to the committee as you take up this important work. However, we are deeply concerned that the proposed legislation, H.R. 1662, “Sound Science for Endangered species Act Planning Act of 2003”, will not improve the application of science to the ESA. We ask you to consider the following points in your discussions of the legislation and explorations of ESA reauthorization.

There are several ways that science can be put to better use in the implementation of the ESA. We ask the committee to consider the following in their discussions of reauthorization of the Act.

The loss of biological diversity that we are currently observing is unprecedented. The ramifications of these extinctions are unknown. Statutes like the ESA provide much need protections for at-risk species. The appropriate application of the best available science is a critical component in successfully implementing the Act. We urge you to consider the comments of the scientific community when deliberating on HR 1662 and other proposed changes to the ESA.

For further information or to access Ecological Society of America documents, please contact Maggie Smith, ESA Policy Analyst, at maggie@esa.org or 202.833.8773, extension 224.