At 40 years old, the Endangered Species Act of 1973 is in dire need of a mid-life makeover.
This well-intentioned law gives the federal government nearly unlimited power to regulate the use of private lands in the name of protecting endangered species.
But as decades of experience show, the act is neither as effective nor as fair as it needs to be.
Kudos to Columbia Basin farmers for helping draw attention to the need for reform. Their fight against efforts to put the White Bluffs bladderpod on the endangered list has brought the act’s flaws into sharp focus.