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Abstract

In November 2013, several Congressional leaders drafted a new bill to reform the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA). While the Endangered Species Management Self-Determination Act (ESMSDA) was the first major attempt at updating the crucial U.S. environmental policy in decades, it also inflamed environmentalist defenders of the original bill. More importantly, it raised several questions as to whether state or federal-oriented approaches to endangered species protection and environmental policy more broadly is ultimately more effective. This article analyzes the original 1973 ESA, followed by an analysis of the ESMSDA currently being considered. It will discuss the various strengths and weaknesses of both bills. Ultimately, the article argues that the original law is still the most effective form of endangered species environmental policy. It also recommends some alternatives to improve the relationship between federal and state governments, thereby allowing aspects of the ESA to be better implemented to the benefit of the United States.