Barack Obama has restored protections for endangered species in a roll-back of one of the most contentious last-minute rule changes of the George Bush era.
“For more than three decades, the Endangered Species Act has successfully protected our nation’s most threatened wildlife, and we should be looking for ways to improve it – not weaken it,” Obama said today.
The rule change, which was made final in mid-December last year, left it up to government agencies to decide on their own whether new dams, logging or mining operations posed a threat to endangered species or their habitat. The rule also said that a project’s impact on climate change should no longer be a factor when taking into account its impact on wildlife.
Until the rule became final in December – about six weeks before Bush left the White House – it had been required to call on government biologists from the Fish and Wildlife Service or other agencies to deliver a threat assessment before giving the go-ahead to development.
Bush had argued such protections were a drag on the economy.
I doubt if Bush could spell “species”. He certainly couldn’t care less about biological studies and appropriate scientific methods for making such determinations.
Some of the corporate slash-and-burn brigade who own the Republican Party are threatening lawsuits over the reversal. They’re “worried” about profits and the economy. Well, profits, anyway.