The Endangered Species Act is a politically controversial law, and has therefore been analyzed many times by policy makers and academics. A thorough assessment of the assumptions made by the act's authors, however, has not heretofore been undertaken. Assumptions may be consciously made and/or may exist in effect. Conscious assumptions may be revealed by reviewing legislative history, while assumptions in effect are manifest only in the logical structure of the legislative language. Assumption assessment is essential to policy analysis, because even a valid policy is unsound if the assumptions of its authors are incorrect, and the goals of such a policy will not be accomplished. A logical analysis of the Endangered Species Act reveals twelve faulty assumptions that are likely to become increasingly problematic, but that are readily correctable. This analysis should be useful to efforts towards the pending reauthorization of the Endangered Species Act in Congress.
Brian Czech and Paul R. Krausman are affiliated with the School of Renewable Resources, Room 314, Biological Sciences East, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, 85721. Brian Czech is a postdoctoral research associate whose doctoral dissertation was a policy analysis of the Endangered Species Act, and Paul R. Krausman is Professor of Wildlife and Fisheries Science.
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