Tuesday, December 28, 2010
On This Date
On December 28, 1973, President Richard M. Nixon signed into law the Endangered Species Act. As originally enacted, the ESA sought to protect the existence of endangered and threatened animal and plant species for their own sakes, that is, regardless of their utility to humans and regardless of cost. Though the Act was subsequently watered down to permit the extinction of species in cases where the cost of preservation is deemed too high (by the Endangered Species Committee or "God Squad"), the Act remains a rare example of true environmental legislation (in contrast, for example, to most pollution-control laws, such as the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act, which are primarily public health statutes).