Bush Administration Plans Sneak Attack On The Endangered Species Act

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The Bush Administration plans
to rollback protections for America’s
imperiled wildlife by re-writing the regulations of the Endangered Species Act.
According to leaked documents obtained by the National Wildlife Federation, the
proposed changes would weaken the safety net of habitat protections that have
helped protect and recover endangered fish, wildlife, and plants for the past 35

The draft rules would also bar federal agencies from
assessing the global warming pollution emissions from projects that contribute
to global warming.

“Do not be fooled when the Administration claims it is merely
tweaking the law,” said John Kostyack, Executive Director of Wildlife
Conservation and Global Warming at the National Wildlife Federation. “The
cumulative impact of these changes equals a full blown attack on America’s
premier conservation law. We owe it to future generations to stop this attack
and continue our legacy of protecting wildlife on the brink of extinction.”

Despite strong public support for the Endangered Species
Act, the Bush Administration is moving forward in its waning months to weaken
the law’s key safeguards. The proposed changes target the Endangered Species
Act’s consultation process, which serves as the main safety net for species on
the brink by allowing scientists with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to
determine if listed species will be harmed before moving forward with
activities such as logging, mining or filling of wetlands.  The proposed
regulations, which don’t require the approval of Congress, would reduce both
the formal and informal independent consultations government scientists have
been performing since the Endangered Species Act was signed into law.

"The Administration’s attempt to package these changes
as a response to global warming simply adds insult to the injury that climate change
already causes to endangered species," said Kostyack.

Published: August 12, 2008