50 Years of Protecting Species
50 years ago this month, Congress extended a lifeline to our nation’s imperiled species by passing the Endangered Species Act with broad bipartisan support. Since then, this bedrock environmental law has helped many species chart a path to recovery and slowed biodiversity loss, all while generating economic benefits.
In Delaware, the Endangered Species Act is assisting two of our most beloved species — the red knot and the piping plover. People travel from all over to enjoy our five-star beaches and to view these remarkable birds. Yet, their populations have declined from historic numbers. That is why the Endangered Species Act is so important — it provides us with tools to protect these invaluable species.
What’s more, the Endangered Species Act is also critical for the well-being of our planet. Across our country and planet, the ecosystems that support all life are experiencing threats such as deforestation and climate change. And, as more species are lost, these ecosystems become less resilient to future threats. Fortunately, this historic law is helping humanity and wildlife alike by breaking this cycle of biodiversity loss.
But, that’s not all! The Endangered Species Act has also proven to be an economic boon. The law bolsters our nation’s outdoor recreation economy by protecting wildlife habitat for recreationists, tourists, researchers, and more to enjoy. In fact, the Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that wildlife recreationists across our country spent some $394 billion in 2022 alone. In Delaware, we have seen firsthand the many benefits of this law to our state’s tourism and outdoor recreation economy.
Let me part with this reminder — extinction is forever. Without the Endangered Species Act’s protections, we would be left to contend with the permanent loss of countless species. I believe that it’s our responsibility to leave behind a planet that we can be proud of and that future generations will be grateful to inherit. The Endangered Species Act is helping us do just that.