Protecting spotted owls cost far fewer jobs than timber industry claimed
“Last month, the Biden administration indicated it would reverse changes to the Endangered Species Act made by President Trump, who had opened up a large chunk of the threatened northern spotted owl’s habitat in the Pacific Northwest to logging. The move fueled a decades-old debate between industry and conservationists in the region—a tension that is broadly characteristic of the Endangered Species Act’s history.
‘The history of the Endangered Species Act is marked by a contested choice: Should we save wildlife, or jobs? The northern spotted owl is the poster species in that debate,’ said Eyal Frank, an assistant professor at the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy. ‘But that decision is often made without needed evidence. And if we don’t quantify the costs of species protection, direct or indirect, we end up assuming they’re infinitely large.'”