Since its landmark passage in 1973, the federal Endangered Species Act has become an icon and lightning rod of the American environmental movement for throwing its protections over right whales, bighorn sheep, grizzly bears, the bald eagle and a thousand more species, it's seen as a bulwark against a diminished planet.
For blocking off millions of acres as critical habitat for snail darters, salamanders, spotted owls and more, the act has drawn the wrath of land owners.
Last week on Capitol Hill, the House passed a major overhaul. Property rights advocates are celebrating. Environmentalists say it's a travesty.
Hear about the future of the Endangered Species Act.
Andrew Wetzler, Senior Attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council in Washington DC
Brian Kennedy, Congressional aide to House Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo
Sheila Olmstead, Professor of Environmental Economics, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies
Michael Doyle, Washington Correspondent for the Sacramento and Fresno Bee Newspapers.
This program aired on October 4, 2005.