Section 10 of the ESA allows for exemptions for non-federal entities. This exception allows for HCPs (Habitat Conservation Plans) by obtaining an ITP (incidental take permit). Although it may not be used as it was intended, many companies can now cause harm to species that are listed on the ESA and those who may be a candidate species. Basically giving these entities a free pass if they cause harm to a species. While working on the take-home midterm, and after listening to a lot of the presentations, it’s very clear that Section 10 is at the root of a lot of the issues that ESA supporters face.
This exception allows companies to seemingly do the opposite of what the ESA was brought in to do. It’s very upsetting that this is allowed, but not only that, part of the HCP is that the company or entity is supposed to recover a separate habitat in return for taking one. It’s my understanding that this doesn’t actually happen with any sort of urgency. Those who uphold the ESA have to spend so much more time fighting section 10, and fighting in litigation; but if it wasn’t for this exception maybe they could be spending their resources recovering habitats. As we’ve learned not too many species have been delisted form the ESA, although many species are still alive because of it. This should be more cause for concern but it doesn’t seem to be the case.
Another big issue at hand is the rate at which candidate species are accepted to be placed on the ESA. Some of this is due to funding, which again maybe if we spent less time dealing with litigation there might be more time for saving these endangered species. Really it frustrates me that there is an exception to the ESA. In my opinion the compromise shouldn’t be made to take land that could potentially harm endangered species. We see the effects it has with Cargill and the salt marshes. They have so many that some of them aren’t being restored but instead are being sold to other companies and filled to create a new building. This is happening in Redwood City right this moment, simply because they weren’t able to remove all the salt and instead of restoring it, they are filling it.