To save endangered species, environmentalists need to listen to their fiercest critics

The Trump administration announced in late August changes to the Endangered Species Act (ESA) that would require the government to consider economic effects before listing a species as threatened or endangered. This move sparked stories about all the species pulled from the brink of extinction by the ESA. The law was a massive success, journalists and environmentalists claimed, and these new changes threaten to undo many of the gains in species protection made over the past four decades.

But missing from most of the coverage of the rule changes were the voices of people who had often paid a steep price for those success stories: loggers put out of work by the Spotted Owl’s ESA listing in 1990 or ranchers whose herds had been attacked by gray wolves. These men and women who work in resource extraction industries care deeply for the land and have a long and proud tradition of fighting to protect nature. Yet they are siding with the Trump Administration over the ESA rule changes. And that’s the result of decades of environmentalists ignoring the economic consequences of the ESA on these populations.

— The Washington Post