Obama Makes Endangered Species Less Endangered

The Obama Administration has revoked a Bush-era rule that allowed government agencies to decide on their own whether a project would harm an endangered plant or animal without consulting the Fish and Wildlife Service or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). President Obama called for a review of the rule last month, and his administration has determined that scientific evidence justified restoring the independent reviews that had previously been conducted by the Fish and Wildlife Service and the NOAA.

“By rolling back this 11th hour regulation, we are ensuring that threatened and endangered species continue to receive the full protection of the law,” said Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, whose department oversees Fish and Wildlife. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, whose department oversees NOAA, added that “our decision affirms the administration’s commitment to using sound science to promote conservation and protect the environment.”

For more than twenty years, federal agencies were required to consult with experts at the Fish and Wildlife Service or the NOAA to ensure that their activities did not harm endangered plants or animals. In the final weeks of his presidency, George W. Bush made the consultations optional. Business and industry groups argue that the consultation process delays projects and increases costs. Environmentalists welcome the change, but say the administration needs to do more to lift a rule that limits the protection of polar bears.

Article here.

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