In its relatively short and contentious lifetime, the ESA has helped dozens of species dodge extinction. Whether it’s by one well-aimed blow or a thousand tiny cuts, any dismantling of the ESA could reverse decades of hard-earned success, and deprive future species from the protections they need to survive.

Brian Palmer, The Audubon Society

About the Endangered Species Protection Program

The goal of the EPA’s Endangered Species Protection Program (ESPP) is to carry out EPA’s responsibilities under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) in compliance with the Endangered Species Act (ESA), without placing unnecessary burden on agriculture and other pesticide users. EPA is responsible for reviewing information and data to determine whether a pesticide product can be registered for a particular use. As part of that determination, EPA determines if listed species or their designated critical habitat may be affected by use of the product. All pesticide products that EPA determines “may affect” a listed species or its designated critical habitat may be subject to the ESPP.

The Endangered Species Act

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) is intended to protect and promote the recovery of species that are in danger of becoming extinct. Threats to a species from habitat destruction, pollution, over-harvesting, disease, predation and other natural or man-made factors must be reviewed and evaluated before an animal or plant can be placed on the federal endangered or threatened species list. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service, collectively known as the Services, administer the ESA.

However, the ESA requires that all federal agencies, including EPA, make sure that any action they authorize, fund or carry out won’t jeopardize the existence of listed species or “destroy or adversely modify” any designated critical habitat for that species. The role EPA has in implementing the ESA is to ensure that the use of pesticides is not likely to jeopardize listed species or destroy or adversely modify their critical habitat when we register pesticides.

The Trump budget makes devastating cuts to fish and wildlife conservation, including to the Endangered Species programs that help conserve and recover imperiled wildlife.

While President Trump and his allies in Congress say they want to give states more opportunity to recover threatened and endangered species, the President’s budget does the exact opposite, by cutting millions of dollars from wildlife conservation programs that prevent species from declining to the point where they need Endangered Species protection.

The release of President Trump’s 2018 budget came four days after thousands of American’s celebrated Endangered Species Day across the country, in recognition of our nation’s commitment to protect and restore our disappearing wildlife.

The Endangered Species Act of 1973 was a landmark conservation law that passed Congress with overwhelming bipartisan support. Although some members of Congress are now seeking to weaken this safety net for fish, plants and wildlife on the brink of extinction, recent polling indicates that the law maintains strong, bipartisan, public support even today.

More than 1,300 imperiled species of plants, fish and wildlife in the United States have been protected by the Endangered Species Act, and only ten have gone extinct, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Additionally, a 2012 study found that 90 percent of protected species are recovering at the pace expected in their scientific recovery plans.