by Greg Walcher, E&E Legal Senior Policy Fellow
As Appearing in the Daily Sentinel
The Endangered Species Act has inflamed emotions for 45 years since its enactment, and everywhere there are strong feelings, on both sides.
The argument usually comes down to whether some species are more important than jobs, or whether all species are equally valuable. Most people venerate bald eagles above power plants, but how about weeds or bugs? The question burst into national headlines shortly after ESA was passed, because of a little 3-inch fish called the snail darter. Its discovery in 1973 landed it on the endangered list, halting construction of the Tellico Dam, a $100 million Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) project for flood control, hydropower and navigation. Congress had authorized the project years earlier, and it was nearly completed when a lawsuit was filed to “save the snail darter.”