The landmark Federal Endangered Species Act, approved in 1973 by huge margins in both the House and the Senate, turned 40 on December 31, 2013. If the ESA could speak it might say however, “I’m not 40, I am 18 with 22 years’ experience”.

The litmus tests of its success include: numbers of species brought back from extinction; improved outcomes for threatened species; and increased public awareness of species protection. Supporters and opponents of the ESA reach divergent conclusions on the accomplishments of the ESA, armed with contrasting numbers. Nevertheless, all viewpoints recognize that the government and landowners jointly continue to protect species and habitat areas on both public and private lands while allowing development to proceed. Perhaps the ESA really is only 18 with 22 years of experience, in need of a few more years to learn from it successes and failures.

The following articles provide two different perspectives of the ESA on its 40th birthday.

Diane G. Kindermann Henderson is a partner at Abbott & Kindermann, LLP. For questions relating to this article or any other California land use, real estate, environmental and/or planning issues contact Abbott & Kindermann, LLP at (916) 456-9595.

The information presented in this article should not be construed to be formal legal advice by Abbott & Kindermann, LLP, nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. Because of the changing nature of this area of the law and the importance of individual facts, readers are encouraged to seek independent counsel for advice regarding their individual legal issues.