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A reflection on the past, present and future of environmental law in this 20th Anniversary Edition offers an opportunity to revisit the Endangered Species Act, particularly the Northern Rocky Mountain States federal wolf reintroduction program. Environmental programs that depend on public support for their effectiveness are problematic when the government fails to understand and compensate for this fact. This essay explores the proposition that the federal government's failure to anticipate and respond to the negative reaction of people adversely affected by proposed solutions to environmental problems is contributing to a lack of progress despite great strides in our scientific understanding. This problem is particularly apparent in the Northern Rocky Mountain States federal wolf reintroduction program under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Although wolves have thrived from a biological perspective as a result of the program, public resistance in the areas where wolves were released has not abated. That conflict may threaten to undermine the wolf's extraordinary recovery now that its protections have been lifted by the U.S. Department of the Interior.

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24 Fordham Envtl. L. Rev. 25-62 (2013)