Lowell E. Baier – The Endangered Species Codex

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LOWELL E. BAIER – THE ENDANGERED SPECIES CODEX
Celebrating 50 Years, the Endangered Species Act provides funding for wildlife preservation on private and public land, and the future of new legislation expected to fund the conservation and restoration of wildlife and plant species in danger of extinction.  This episode of Big Blend Radio’s “Nature Connection” Show features legal and environmental historian, author, and attorney Lowell E. Baier. Hear about the history and importance of the Endangered Species Act as well as his two related books The Codex of the “Endangered Species Act: Volume 1, The First Fifty Years”, and “Endangered Species Act: Volume 2, The Next Fifty Years.” Listen here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on Acast.

Lowell E. Baier’s intellectual curiosity during his 58-year career has taken him from a practicing attorney to an entrepreneur, a tireless advocate for natural resources and wildlife conservation, and a legal and environmental historian and author. Baier is the author of “The Codex of the Endangered Species Act: Volume 1, The First Fifty Years” with a foreword by Douglas Brinkley (Rowman & Littlefield; August 15, 2023), and “The Codex of the Endangered Species Act: Volume II, The Next Fifty Years” with a foreword by Representative Debbie Dingell (MI-6th) and Senator Martin Heinrich (NM) Brinkley (Rowman & Littlefield; November 15, 2023).  The two-volume “Codex of the Endangered Species Act” explores the history of the law and its success in Volume I and the possibilities for even greater achievements in the future in Volume II, authored by 27 distinguished ESA scholars and practitioners.

 

The Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA) is recognized around the world as the most important wildlife conservation law ever passed. This critical, and sometimes controversial, protection for species and their habitat turned 50 years old in December 2023.   Seen as the crown jewel of all environmental laws, the ESA is cherished for protecting beloved charismatic species, their habitat, and ecosystems. It is also vilified as an intrusion upon private property rights and an impediment to both local government and private enterprise.

 

The history of the ESA has been one of increasing impact, complexity, and controversy. In 1978, the Supreme Court declared that Congress intended for the U.S. government to save all species at any cost, and thereafter implementation of the ESA became steadily more controversial.  Today, more than 1600 species are listed as either endangered or threatened in the United States under the ESA. One example is the preservation of the northern spotted owl and the timber wars in the Pacific Northwest in the late 1980s and early 90s.The conservation successes and challenges of the first 50 years of this law point towards future strategies for more effective and less controversial conservation, including legislative, regulatory, and collaborative approaches.

 

“The Codex of the ESA is not only a history, but a call to action,” explains Lowell Baier.  “In the future, it will require more conservation, funding, and innovative solutions to build upon the legacy of the ESA and successfully save our wildlife and biodiversity. The hope of this book is that we will be able to look back and say that we accomplished more in the second 50 years of the ESA than we did in the first.”

 

Throughout its history, the ESA has been shaped by three concurrent sources of law: legislative amendments, administrative rules (and related policies), and judicial opinions. With active stewardship from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service, the ESA can carry on for another 50 years. 

 

Essential to arresting the ongoing biodiversity and extinction crises will be securing new sources of funding for conservation, such as the bipartisan Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (RAWA) now pending final passage in the US Senate. RAWA provides approximately $1.4 billion per year for conservation of ESA-listed species, at-risk species, and species of greatest conservation need across all 50 states and tribal governments. It provides a preventative model for wildlife conservation that will facilitate true cooperation between state and federal wildlife authorities, while conserving 13,556 species before they become listed under the ESA.

 

 You can find more information about the Endangered Species Act 50th Commemoration and Lowell E. Baier at www.ESAat50.com  and on social media @ESAat50.

 

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Celebrating 50 Years, the Endangered Species Act provides funding for wildlife preservation on private and public land, and the future of new legislation expected to fund the conservation and restoration of wildlife and plant species in danger of extinction.

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