Two Weeks to Save the Endangered Species Act

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Center for Biological Diversity

Just before leaving office, the Bush administration dealt a parting blow to endangered species across the nation, issuing regulations that eliminate independent scientific review over species-harming federal projects like oil leases, timber sales, and mines. The regulations also exempt all greenhouse gas-emitting projects, including coal-fired power plants and federal fuel-efficiency standards, from Endangered Species Act review. These regulations eviscerate the central Endangered Species Act process — independent scientific oversight — that has protected endangered species for 35 years. Dangerously, they exclude global warming, the single-greatest future threat to endangered species, from consideration under the Act.

The regulations are the object of active lawsuits by the Center, other environmental groups, and nine states.

Thankfully, Congress has provided the Obama administration with the authority to rescind the Bush extinction rules without having to go through a lengthy rulemaking process. On March 11, Congress passed a bill giving the secretaries of Commerce and Interior 60 days to rescind the rules with a penstroke.

The decision to overturn the extinction rules should be a no-brainer for the Obama administration. President Barack Obama made a campaign promise to toss out the rules, and in early March, he issued a memorandum ordering federal agencies to ignore some aspects of them. But his Interior and Commerce secretaries have failed to act, and the May 9 deadline now looms.

While more than 80,000 people have written to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar demanding he rescind the Bush rules, Gary Locke has only recently been confirmed as secretary of Commerce and has yet to take a position on the rules. Similarly, Dr. Jane Lubchenco, the new head of the ocean administration, has failed to take a public position either.

Please contact Secretary Locke and Dr. Lubchenco and urge them to immediately revoke the Bush extinction rules.


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