March 12, 2008

Book Review - Acting for Endangered Species

Acting for Endangered Species: The Statutory Ark
Shannon Peterson
KF 5640 .P48 2002

Peterson presents legal history that has emerged from the Endangered Species Act. Passed in 1973 with little dissent or discussion, the endangered species act is one of the strongest legal tools currently available to fight for environment. Since becoming law, however, this act has become increasingly controversial. This book examines how this controversy has come about, pointing to politicians who have tried to curtail its power and complained about the expenses that it authorizes as well as to environmentalists who have worked to expand the scope and power of this act and to use its power as a tool to acheive other environmental goals. The book is divided into three parts. The first traces legislative efforts beginning in the late 19th century to protect endangered species. The second and third parts analyze the two most important controversies generated by this law: the snail darter, a fish that prevented the building of a dam, and the spotted owl, whose habitat has gotten in the way of logging. This short book thoroughly researched and offers an extensive number of references to legal materials, news articles, scientific research, and personal opinions about the importance of species preservation.