Administration Reinterprets ESA


Tired of losing lawsuits brought by conservation groups, the Bush administration issued a new interpretation of the Endangered Species Act that would allow it to protect plants and animals only in areas where they are struggling to survive, while ignoring places they are healthy or have already died out.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dale Hall, contacted in Washington, D.C., said the new policy would allow them to focus on protecting species in areas where they are in trouble, rather than having to list a species over its entire range.

Kieran Suckling,  policy director for the Center for Biological Diversity in Tucson, had a much different take.

“This policy will do more to promote the purposeful killing of imperiled species than anything else this administration has ever done.”

The opinion of the Interior Department’s solicitor can be found here (pdf.)