The Endangered Species Act (ESA) was signed into law by President Richard Nixon on December 28, 1973.  At 50 years old, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) claims they currently protect 1,667 threatened or endangered species and have more than 100 species of plants and animals that have been delisted.

However, according to Rob Gordon, this is a false claim.

Rob, with over three decades of experience dealing with the ESA at the U.S. Geological Service, Department of Interior, U.S. House Natural Resources Committee, as well as positions with Competitive Enterprise Institute and The Heritage Foundation, has issued a scathing report called “The Endangered Species Act at 50, A Record of Falsified Recoveries Underscores a Lack of Scientific Integrity in the Federal Program”, A Record of Falsified Recoveries Underscores a Lack of Scientific Integrity in the Federal Program.”

Rob proves, using FWS’s own information, that only 62 species have officially “recovered.”  However, he found that of these 62, nearly 60 percent, or 36 are not real conservation “success stories.”

He says these are inaccurate proclamations.  The real reason they have “recovered” can be attributed to an “erroneous original determination” that the species was endangered or threatened.  In other words, they got it wrong to begin with.

He also states that currently, there are 12 species proposed for delisting on the basis of recovery, but at least 5 of those 12 appear more likely to owe their improvement to original data error.  And, as far as downlisting species (lowered from endangered to threatened status) 20 of 40 appear to owe their “improved” status to data error as well.

The review shows the listing standards, the process, or both, have led to more than twice as many wrongly listed species as recovered species. And, lastly, the continuous mislabeling of species as “recovered” reveals a serious scientific integrity problem with the implementation of the ESA.

The Review is 120 pages long with 47 of those being graphs and footnotes documenting all  FWS’s own materials.  Rob states “The dishonest claims of recovery should not only set off alarm bells about the ESA’s effectiveness at the half century mark, but also about the scientific integrity, or really lack thereof in the implementation of one of the Nation’s most powerful environmental laws.”

His report was written for the Western Caucus Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports the Western Caucus, the largest conservative caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives.