Practical Approaches to Implementing Environmental Laws: Report of an International Roundtable Discussion

Margaret Bowman, Environmental Law Institute
Date Released
December 1993

The implementation of endangered species protection policies has focused, especially in recent years, on the threats posed by various land use practices. Less studied, but nevertheless important, are the wide ranging effects of pollution on endangered species and critical habitat. The harmful effects of pollution have contributed to the listing of numerous species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Environmental Law Institute therefore believed that it would serve the public interest to look at opportunities for protecting species and habitat and reducing ecological risk through pollution control programs. The focus of this report is an examination of the federal government`s primary pollution control agency to evaluate its approach to protecting threatened and endangered species. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has substantial responsibilities under the ESA Nevertheless, EPA has only recently begun a systematic study of how the agency carries out its ESA obligations. ELI reviewed both EPA`s authority and, to the extent possible, its practice in order to understand how the goals and mandates of the ESA are or are not integrated into EPA programs. ELI also reviewed the practices of two other federal agencies, the U.S. Forest Service and the Office of Surface Mining.