The Corner

Eagle Recovery

It is true that bald eagle populations have recovered in recent years. One year during the Clinton Administration, then-Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt made a big July 4 announcement about the eagle’s recovery. What is important to recognize is that the primary federal species protection law — the Endangered Species Act — has had little, if anything, to do with the eagle’s recovery. The largest factors in the eagle’s rebound are 1) the prohibition on shooting bald eagles under legislation specifically protecting eagles, and 2) the domestic ban on the pesticide DDT. Neither measure had anything to do with the ESA. So be happy that the bald eagle is doing better, but don’t believe environmental activists who try and claim the ESA deserves the credit.

Jonathan H. Adler — Mr. Adler is an NRO contributing editor and the inaugural Johan Verheij Memorial Professor of Law at Case Western Reserve University School of Law. His latest book is Marijuana Federalism: Uncle Sam and Mary Jane.


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