Can Habitat Conservation Planning Solve the Problems of the Endangered Species Act?

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Title: Can Habitat Conservation Planning Solve the Problems of the Endangered Species Act?
Author: Ballard, Dustin
Department: Haverford College. Dept. of Political Science
Type: Thesis (B.A.)
Issue Date: 1994
Abstract: This thesis is a policy analysis of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). In conducting this analysis I explore many aspects of the Endangered Species Act but focus on the merits and drawbacks of a new approach to its implementation - the widespread use of Habitat Conservation Plans (HCP's). The paper begins with an examination of the economic, biological and political problems with the past application of the Endangered Species Act. After establishing that the magnitude of these problems necessitates the modification of the ESA, I examine the goals and objectives of Habitat Conservation Planning. I continue by explaining the costs, benefits, risks and unintended consequences of the HCP approach to implementing the ESA. In the ANALYSIS section I suggest ways to improve the HCP approach as well as methods and possibilities for evaluation. Where are we left at the end of the paper? I believe I have made a strong case for the proposition that the old approach to the implementation of the ESA is unacceptable. If the use of this approach were to continue not only would the biological, economic and political problems persist, it is likely that the ESA would be weakened or killed in the near future. Can the HCP approach solve the problem? Possibly. The HCP approach can succeed in remedying some of the problems with the implementation of the ESA. I believe that its goals of ecosystem protection, preventive planning and keeping endangered species conflicts out of the courts will all be realized to some extent. Of course, it will be difficult to give decisive evaluations of these aspects of the HCP approach in the short term. Hence, possibly the most critical task for the HCP approach is to provide the appearance of being successful in the short-term. If it can do this it could play a significant role in the retention and strengthening of the ESA. And this is a goal of the upmost importance. For all of its past problems, the ESA represents the world's foremost legislative attempt to serve one of mankind's most important long-term interests - the preservation of our natural heritage.
Subject: United States. Endangered Species Act of 1973
Subject: Endangered species -- Government policy -- United States
Subject: Habitat conservation -- United States
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Ballard, Dustin. "Can Habitat Conservation Planning Solve the Problems of the Endangered Species Act?". 1994. Available electronically from

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