Who Can Enforce the Endangered Species Act's Command for Federal Agencies to Carry Out Conservation Programs?

Gersen, Sara
May 2009
Ecology Law Quarterly;2009, Vol. 36 Issue 2, p407
Academic Journal
In Florida Key Deer v. Paulison, the Eleventh Circuit held that federal agencies cannot meet the Endangered Species Act's (ESA's) command to "carry[] out programs for the conservation of endangered species" with programs of "insignificant effect. "Since the enactment of the ESA, courts have taken a variety of approaches to this requirement, which is found in section 7(a)(1) of the ESA. While some prior interpretations have rendered section 7(a)(1) effectively unenforceable, the Florida Key Deer decision belongs to a line of cases that reads meaningful procedural requirements into the section. Although the Eleventh Circuit has made an important contribution to the jurisprudence of ESA section 7(a)(1) by establishing a "significant effect" benchmark for compliance, this Note argues that effective conservation programs cannot be implemented as the result of litigation alone. The ESA's goals cannot be realized without executive leadership because of the unique competencies of the executive branch.


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