Endangered Species Act (ESA)
A keystone environmental law, the ESA is specific to plants and animals that are at risk of becoming extinct, or gone forever. Extinction is pretty scary word, which makes this a pretty important law.
The ESA provides specific steps for recognizing when a species is in trouble, and outlines a process to conserve and protect them, such as designating critical habitat and developing a recovery plan.
Like the MMPA, the ESA also recognizes the importance of ecosystems that support plant and animal life and the need for listed species to have a protected home, and prohibits take or harm. This law is also largely driven by and for the public – anyone can petition to list a species and weigh in on the process. But you have to be able to back it up your case with some strong scientific evidence, so no, we probably can’t list Baby Yoda as an endangered species. (But we do agree he should be protected!)
Learn the Lingo!
The ESA uses lots of its own lingo which can make it difficult to understand. No worries - we break it down for you!