Senate, House Western Caucuses Highlight Need to Reform Flawed Endangered Species Act

December 15, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senate Western Caucus Chair Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) and Congressional Western Caucus Chair Dan Newhouse (R-WA) hosted a press conference detailing the shortcomings of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) ahead of the law’s 50th anniversary. They focused on the need to enact commonsense reforms to ensure the ESA is more effective in saving impacted species and less harmful for people living and working out west.

“For far too long, this administration’s desire to empower D.C. bureaucrats at the expense of local wildlife experts has allowed the ESA to be the death knell of local communities bound by its outdated policies,” said Lummis. “Now more than ever, we a have a responsibility to modernize the ESA so it not only better fits its intended purpose but empowers our landowners and businesses to be partners in species recovery, not the enemy.”

“This year marks the 50th anniversary of the ESA, and it has been a disappointing 50 years,” said Newhouse. “With a less than five percent success rate, it’s clear that the ESA as enacted has failed its mission of actually recovering species. Furthermore, the finding that more than half of the alleged recoveries are the result of data error or manipulation is a damning indictment of the effectiveness of this law and its implementation. This report shows we must improve transparency of the data used by the Fish and Wildlife Service and will help inform the work of the ESA Working Group that I co-chair in the House of Representatives.”

Click here to view a report the Western Caucus Foundation’s Endangered Species Act at 50 Report. 


  • Since the Endangered Species Act’s inception, 1,667 species have been listed.
    • Just 62 have been successfully delisted. 
    • Of the 62, 36 were delisted because of data errors, including when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service erroneously listed the Monito Gecko because they were unaware it was nocturnal.